Saturday, December 29, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions, I will . . .

Every year, we make New Year’s resolutions that we attempt to fulfill. Some of them are:

1. Get physically fit.
2. Travel.
3. Save money.
4. Become greener.
5. Read more.

Let’s see how the Magazines and Newspapers Center can help you with these resolutions:

1. Get physically fit doesn’t mean exercising your thumb on the fire button of a video game controller. We have magazines to help you maintain a happy and healthy life: Fitness Management, Heart & Soul, Men’s Fitness, Shape, and many more.

2. Travel doesn’t mean walking to the 7-Eleven down the street. We have magazines to help you explore other countries and other cultures: Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Conde Nast’s Traveler, Holiday Which?, National Geographic Traveler, and many more.

3. Save and/or Invest Money doesn’t mean looking for loose change under the sofa cushions. We have magazines to help you save, invest, compound, and diversify your hard-earned cash: Investor’s Business Daily, Barron’s, Better Investing, Bloomberg Markets, Forbes, Fortune, Institutional Investor, and many more.

4. Become greener doesn’t mean to stop bathing. We have magazines to help you become more eco-friendly, less wasteful, and more energy-conscious: Home Power, Solar Today, Windpower Monthly Newsmagazine, and many more.

5. Read more – Magazines and Newspapers Center – enough said.

New Year’s resolutions are “promises” to oneself to be accomplished over the course of the year. Try not to have too many resolutions. Ask a friend to help you keep your New Year’s resolutions. The Magazines and Newspapers Center has many more magazines to help you with achieving your New Year’s resolutions.

If you have a New Year’s resolution that’s not on our list, please come ask us for assistance to keeping your resolutions in 2008!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Plants

During this cold, wintry season, green and red poinsettias and mistletoes decorate homes, work places, and stores, brightening up the spirit of the holidays as the year draws to a close. Have you ever been curious about these plants and how they acquired their names? Are you interested in which class they might belong to within the grand ecosystem of life? Check out the Science Online database to explore these and other obscure scientific facts:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Science & Technology” then “Science Online.”

3. In the search box, enter “poinsettia.”

4. Select the first link and discover the scientific name, identify the family class, and view photos of the poinsettia.

5. Run the search again for “mistletoe” and get detailed information on yet another popular plant during this holiday season.

The Science Online database contains definitions, articles and essays, biographies, and experimental pieces in a variety of scientific disciplines including biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, mathematics, physics, space and astronomy, and more. Some of the content is accompanied by diagrams, photographs, and videos.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Online: Magazine Cover Galleries

A popular pastime for people interested in popular culture and history is browsing old magazine covers. Many people continue to perform this activity in our collection of back issues here at the Main Library, but some magazine Web sites allow one to peruse these artifacts from a computer.
Here is a sampling of just a few:

Life Magazine (

Life has a full archive of covers that begin as far back as 1936 . One can search the archive by keyword or date as well as a few slide show collections such as "Most famous Life covers".

Time Magazine

Time also has a full archive of covers that range back to 1923. It also provides keyword searching and have a few featured searches, such as "This Week in History" which shows the covers from issues 5, 10, 20, and 50 years ago.

Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated offers a similar archive that begins in 1954. One can also locate covers by searching for any author of the cover stories. This is available through the advanced search page.

Rolling Stone (

The magazine cover archive of Rolling Stone is another conduit for seeing iconic historical timepieces, starting in 1967.

Vogue UK (

Fashion magazines are another popular subject for cover searches. Vogue UK offers searches by year (going back to 1916), by model, and by artist/photographer.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Furniture and Furnishings

Now that you’ve installed the floors correctly under your feet, and placed the ceiling where it belongs, over your head, what comes next? You decorate!

Gentlemen—Are you looking for that incredible 100-inch, thinner-than-paper, so-real-that-you-can-almost-touch-it picture quality, plasma television set? What about that ergonomic, electronic, full-body massage, leather chair to put in front of the TV?

Ladies—Are you looking to balance understated dramatics with contrast and hue, use concepts of feng shui to arrange furniture, or choose colors to establish mood and harmony?

Before the design of your room looks like “Death Star meets Martha Stewart,” check out Electronic House, Home, Home Theater, House Beautiful, and Interior Design at the Magazines and Newspapers Center for some decorating ideas:

Electronic House - Covers home automation and smart electronic systems that offer more security, entertainment, convenience, and fun.

Home - Emphasizes home design and architecture, including creative yet practical ideas aimed primarily at the average middle-income homeowner.

Home Theater - Dedicated to the home theater market, covering the latest in audio, video surround sound, movies and music.

House Beautiful - Articles cover home decorating and remodeling, architecture, travel, leisure and entertaining, gardening, and other topics.

If you can afford the 100-inch, plasma television set, you might consider:

Interior Design - For professionals who design office, commercial establishment, and residential interiors.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Periodicals Reading Room

During the holiday season when the weather has turned cold and the frenzy of the season has become overwhelming, consider coming into the Main Library and going to the fifth floor Periodicals Reading Room in the Herb Caen Magazines and Newspapers Center. Even on a gray day, the glass-enclosed room is filled with light and warmth.

The Periodicals Reading Room showcases current issues of more than 150 of the library's popular magazines. It is a clean and quiet room where you can linger over your favorite magazines. A comfortable place to sit, study, work and think, it is a sanctuary from the fast pace of the world around us.

The room also contains back issues of local newspapers. If you are interested in a magazine title not on display, check with a librarian at the reference desk or use our Periodical Finder. Current and back issues of several thousand magazines are available at the fifth floor Page Desk.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cook's Illustrated

This time of year, I always want to get creative with my baking. I don’t want to make the same pumpkin pie or the usual Christmas cookies. I want to be inspired and try something new. The problem is time. I never have enough time to experiment to make sure the recipe works. A good solution is to turn to people who have actually tried everything such as the staff in the test kitchens of Cook’s Illustrated. If you haven’t taken a look at this magazine I highly recommend it for all kinds of new holiday baking ideas.

The staff of Cook's Illustrated tests hundreds of recipes to find out the best way to cook something. They not only test ingredients but pots, pans and gadgets too. They present their findings in a neutral way as they don’t take advertising from vendors.

Originally known as Cook’s, the Library owns copies of this magazine from 1984 to current.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


The Thanksgiving holiday offers families an opportunity to spend time together. Perhaps you might want to explore the history of this over three-centuries-old holiday with your children. Do they understand the origin of Thanksgiving? Do you want to help them learn more about this holiday without having to flip through old dusty textbooks? Look no further and explore the Kids InfoBits database:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Student Resources” then select, “Kids InfoBits.”

3. Select “History & Social Studies” and then “U.S. History.”

4. From the category listings, select “Pilgrims (Plymouth Colony).”

5. Choose any link from this list and you can read concise, informative articles on the pilgrims, puritans, the Mayflower, and other historical Thanksgiving facts.

The KidsInfoBits database—an electronic resource for beginning researchers—contains articles and reference content written specifically for children from kindergarten to 5th grade. A highly visual and browseable database with rated reading levels for various topical articles, this database draws its material from magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, and other print resources. Subject areas covered include current events, geography, history, science, health, people, and more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Witches, black cats, jack o’lanterns, ghosts, and goblins will herald the arrival of Halloween, a holiday whose roots stem from ancient religious Pagan rituals of the Celts. What are the historical origins of this traditional holiday? Is this merely a time for kids to go trick-or-treating? To learn some of the intriguing and folkloric facts surrounding this holiday from a scholarly perspective, check out the JSTOR database:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the “Articles and News” category, select the JSTOR database.

3. Select “Search” and enter the phrase “Halloween in America” (in quotes) into the search box.

Below is a citation and excerpt from one of the articles:

"Halloween in America: Contemporary Customs and Performances," Jack Santino, Western Folklore, Vol. 42, No. 1 (Jan., 1983), pp. 1-20.

“Halloween in America is a very popular holiday marked by a great deal of expressive culture which calls attention to itself and the day to which it belongs.”

The JSTOR database contains full-text articles in various academic disciplines dating back from 1838 to three years ago. Subject areas include art, business, health, language and literature, music, science, and more.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October -- National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

On September 28, 2007, President George W. Bush proclaimed October 2007 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Beginning as a weeklong campaign program in 1985, NBCAM is dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of the early detection of breast cancer. For this period, the American Cancer Society along with other national public service organizations--either professional or government--have all joined together, spreading the message that early detection of breast cancer followed with prompt and proper treatment can save lives.

Do you know how often you should get a mammogram? Should both men and women get tested? Is there an increase of breast cancer among men?

The San Francisco Public Library has a variety of resources and materials on breast cancer. Here are some newsletters and magazines on the subject: Breast Cancer: the Journal of the Japanese Breast Cancer Society, The CBHP Report: the Newsletter of the Community Breast Health Project, Mamm, Source/Breast Cancer Action, and Saber Es Poder (Spanish version of Breast Cancer Action).

You can find articles on the subject of breast cancer by visiting the library’s Web site and selecting Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the library.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chinese American Genealogy Program

"Four Generations of Family Resemblances"

@1996 by Jeanie Low

The Magazines & Newspapers Center will present a program--Family Legacies: Genealogical Resources for Chinese Americans--hosted by Jeanie Low, author of China Connection: Finding Ancestral Roots for Chinese in America. Topics will include interviewing family members, translating gravestones, accessing 20th century immigration and naturalization case files in English, census research, World War I draft records and research within a historical context. Research management information is for all levels of researchers.

Since 1993, Jeanie has presented workshops at conferences for the National Archives and Records Administration, National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies, Chinese Historical Society of America, and San Francisco State University’s Asian American Studies Department. She is also a local award-winning quilt artist and holds degrees in Library Technology and Chinese Studies.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, October 27 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Standard Periodical Directory

You may already know that the Magazines and Newspapers Center holds thousands of magazines and newspapers from the past to the present, along with microfilm, San Francisco City Directories, and telephone books from around the country. But did you know that the Center also has many reference resources to help answer a variety of questions that you may have?

In addition to the skilled library technicians and librarians that staff the Center's reference desk, you should be aware of the many print resources available to you.

One particular useful tool is the The Standard Periodical Directory, a directory of magazines by subject.

The 30th edition holds information for over 58,000 magazines with over 5,500 additions from the last edition. Over 17,000 magazines are noted as a combination of print and online media. Also of note is that corporate in-house magazines have dwindled from 79 pages to 5 while ethnic magazines have grown astronomically. Hispanic magazines have grown from 30 to 245 since 1977. Indicative of the size and motion within the magazine industry, the Directory contains valuable information for each listed periodical that includes websites, email addresses, subscription list rental availability, and other basic information.

This is one example of over 100 reference sources that are held at the Center's main reference desk. If you have a question, the Center may have your answer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

New York Times

As of September 19, 2007, the New York Times has eliminated charging fees to certain sections of their Web site, providing free access to a huge portion of their news content. Readers will be able to access articles from 1987 to the present as well as older material from1851 to 1922 with selected content between the years 1923 to 1986.

The San Francisco Public Library continues to provide full-text articles to the New York Times through the New York Times Historical database, covering 1851 to 3 years ago. The Proquest Newspapers database includes more recent articles (text only), covering over 300 U.S. international and national news publications from 1979 to the present. You will need a San Francisco Public library card to access these databases from the “Articles and Databases” link under “Articles & News.”

Here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center, you can access the entire run of the New York Times on microfilm in its original format, complete with graphics and photographs, dating back to 1857.

For more information on this recent change, refer to the following article on the New York Times Web site:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

State of the Magazine Publishing Industry 2007

The publishing industry is in a state of change, shock, and reformation. The Internet has only begun to change the nature of this print industry. Google has cornered the advertising market.

So how does all this affect you, the library user who loves to read magazines? "Out of Vogue," an article on the magazine industry in the September 29, 2007 issue of The Economist, has a clue. The article reports that "although healthier than newspapers, consumer magazines have problems" (p. 72-73).

The magazine industry simply can no longer survive as a purely print service. Consumers and readers are looking for a full-range of media services that include the printed word, visual, streaming media, interactivity, shopping opportunities, and cross-linkages with relevant but separate media.

Here is an excerpt from the article - which can be found in both our print archive and magazine database resources. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the library.

"On the advertising side, magazines are faring much better than newspapers, which are losing big chunks of revenue as classified advertising shifts online. Advertisers like the fact that in many genres, such as fashion, readers accept and value magazine ads and even consider them part of the product.

Unfortunately, magazine publishers have been slow to get onto the internet. 'Eighteen months ago the internet was something they worried about after 4pm on Friday,' says Peter Kreisky, a consultant to the media industry, 'but now it's at the heart of their business model.' Meredith, a magazine publisher from the mid-west of America with old-fashioned brands such as Better Homes and Gardens, recently held an internet 'boot-camp' for its executives to teach them internet basics.

To their credit, big magazine firms are doing far more than replicating their print products online. Whereas newspapers have concentrated on transferring print journalism to the internet, magazines offer people useful, fun services online--Lagardère's Car and Driver website, for instance, offers virtual test drives, and Better Homes and Gardens online has a 3D planning tool to help people redesign their homes."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Introduction To Genealogical Research

New to genealogy and wanting to find your connection to the people who brought you into this world? Interested in knowing your parents, their parents, the people they loved, and the people whom they shared their lives with?

Researching into your genealogy is more than a detective story that grows and flowers. It is a story you write backwards, and it includes the struggles, victories, and defeats of the people closest to you.

The Magazines and Newspapers Center holds a variety of helpful resources, but so many tools can be overwhelming. To help guide your research, the Center will offer an introductory class on genealogical research including a brief introduction to genealogical research and a demonstration of the library’s relevant databases. The class will conclude with a short tour of the print and microfilm resources in the Magazines and Newspapers Center.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library Training Center (5th Fl.)
- Event Date and Time: Wednesday, October 17 (noon to 1 p.m.)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Christopher Columbus

Did you know a statue of Christopher Columbus has a permanent residence in the city of San Francisco? Perched high atop Telegraph Hill in front of Coit Tower stands the once-reputed Italian explorer who thought he had discovered America. To view photographic images of this statue, check out the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “SFPL-Created Research Tools.”

2. Under the “San Francisco Resources” category, select SF Historical Photograph Collection.”

3. On the left-hand side, select “Search Digitized Images."

4. Enter the keywords “Christopher Columbus” into the search box.

5. From the list of results, select “View Image” to see a larger version of each photograph.

The San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, located in the San Francisco History Center, contains over 250,000 rare and historical photographs of San Francisco and California from 1850 to the present. This collection also includes the photo morgue of the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin, a daily San Francisco newspaper published in the early 20th century. The Magazines and Newspapers Center has copies of this newspaper dating back to 1959 on microfilm.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Where Do I Find This Magazine?

The Herb Caen Magazines and Newspapers Center holds the bulk of the magazines received by the Main Library. However, there are some exceptions library users should be aware of.

To find the location of a magazine title, check the library’s online catalog or ask a librarian for assistance.

Circulating adult magazines, temporarily not available during the Main Library First Floor Renovation, will be available again upon the completion of this project.

Magazines for the deaf and/or hard-of-hearing are available to read in the Deaf Services Center on the first floor.

The Children’s Center holds children’s titles for circulation on the second floor.

The Teen Center on the third floor holds teen-interest magazines which also circulate.

Also on the third floor, the International Center holds circulating magazines in languages other than English.

The Government Information Center, located on the fifth floor, holds government-issued and government-related periodicals.

The Little Maga/Zine Collection is in the Book Arts and Special Collections Center on the sixth floor.

And finally, Affinity Centers, like the Filipino American Center, are located throughout the building and offer topically-related magazines.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Magazine and newspaper article databases in other languages

While the library has a large collection of print magazines and newspapers in other languages, we also have an online collection of magazines and newspapers in Chinese, Spanish and Russian. You can get to these from the Library’s Web site by selecting Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to log into these databases from home or anywhere outside the library.

While you’re at it, check out our new language learning database, Rosetta Stone. This database is an interactive program for learning Chinese (Mandarin), English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish.

Chinese Magazines (Qikan)
200 current, popular Chinese language magazines published in China. Available in either traditional or simplified characters.

Clase Periódica—index
Index to Latin American journals in the sciences and humanities covering the time period from 1975 to present.

Spanish language reference titles, periodicals, and more on a variety of topics.

Ethnic Newswatch
250 magazines and newspapers published in both English and Spanish covering the time period from 1960 to present from the U.S. ethnic and minority press.

Covers hundreds of popular Hispanic magazines from 1999 to present.

Russian Newspapers (East View)
Newspapers in Russian from official sources, independent media and partisan publications covering the time period 1980 to present.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

National Digital Newspaper Program: San Francisco Call 1900-1910 online

In an effort to make the nation's historic newspapers more readily available to all, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress have partnered to develop the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP).

From the NDNP website:

". . . Ultimately, over a period of approximately 20 years, NDNP will create a national, digital resource of historically significant newspapers from all the states and U.S. territories published between 1836 and 1922. This searchable database will be permanently maintained at the Library of Congress (LC) and be freely accessible via the Internet . . . . NDNP will be implemented in several phases. In May 2005, the NDNP began its development phase by making awards to six state projects that are selecting newspapers published in California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, and Virginia during the decade of 1900 to 1910. These projects are currently digitizing 100,000 pages, according to the technical guidelines outlined by the Library of Congress."

Currently, one can search and access articles online from newspapers from the six states mentioned above, including the San Francisco Call, for the years 1900 - 1910.

The San Francisco Call articles are available through two portals: the first is the California Newspaper Project (beta version) which has a Google-like interface. The second is the Chronicling America site offered through the Library of Congress which has an interface more like the periodical databases that SFPL provides for card holders.

The Magazines and Newspapers Center also has microfilm holdings for this title. For a description and brief history of the San Francisco Call, click here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Mid-Autumn Festival

As autumn approaches and the nights get longer, the Asian community holds an annual moon festival (a.k.a. Mid-Autumn Festival) with moon cakes, cultural fairs, feasts, martial arts and lion dance performances, and other activities. The Mid-Autumn Festival takes place on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Learn more about this ancient festival from the Ethnic NewsWatch database:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select “Articles & Databases.” You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

2. Select the Ethnic NewsWatch database.

3. Enter the keywords “moon festival” and “legend” into the search boxes, being sure to use “AND” to link those terms together so they appear within the same document.

4. Select the citation:

August Moon Festival: The story of a goddess and her husband: She took Pill of Immortality and ascended to the moon. Anonymous. The Patriot Ledger. Quincy, Mass.: Aug 15, 2007. p. 3

Here is an excerpt:

"The August Moon Festival is one of two large festivals celebrated by many Asians each year. The festival celebrates the advent of the harvest season and commemorates the ascension of the goddess Chang-O to the Moon Palace.”

The Ethnic NewsWatch database contains articles (including some in Spanish) from newspapers, magazines, journals, and newsletters from the ethnic, minority, and native press, presenting alternate viewpoints from those covered by the mainstream press.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The First and Last Emperor of the United States

Photograph courtesy of San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library

Did you know the United States once had an emperor who lived in San Francisco? In fact, he was a rather eccentric character, and the locals allowed him to proclaim himself Emperor Norton I of the US and Protector of Mexico. To read more about this short-lived monarch, check out the History Resource Center: US database.

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “History & Genealogy,” then select “History Resource Center: US.”

3. Select the “Advanced” search box and enter the terms “emperor,” “norton,” and “San Francisco” into the boxes.

4. Select the citation link that appears in the summary results:

Norton, Joshua (1818-1880). Encyclopedia of the American West. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 1996.

Here’s an excerpt from the biographical article:

Self-proclaimed Norton I, emperor of the United States and protector of Mexico, Joshua Norton (1818 or 1819-1880) cut quite a figure on the mid-nineteenth-century streets of San Francisco. Bedecked in a ratty coat of military design, scuffy boots, a rusty sword on his belt, and a top hat decorated with rooster feathers . . .

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Divine Comedy

He was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. His monumental epic, The Divine Comedy, took readers through an allegorical journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise. Over six centuries ago today, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) passed away, but his work continues to endure, intriguing students of classical world literature and influencing works of art around the world.

To learn more about this Italian poet and his influential works, check out the Literature Resource Center:

1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Literature & Books,” then “Literature Resource Center.”

3. In the search box, enter “Dante.”

4. Select “Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)” to read an introductory overview of Dante’s life and classical works. Explore various aspects of his life and works by selecting the tabs along the top of the screen.

The Literature Resource Center, a complete literature reference database, contains biographical profiles of writers and criticism of major literary works in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Podcast from KQED Radio: Newspapers in Trouble

The increasingly bleak state of newspapers, both globally and locally, is the topic of this July 31, 2007 broadcast of KQED's radio show Forum. Some key topics include the decreasing number of newsroom staff due to layoffs, the effect of the Internet on the public's newspaper reading habits, and the consolidation of ownership of formerly separate newspapers.

Hosted by Spencer Michels, the panel includes Louis Freedberg, editorial writer and columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, Neil Henry, professor and interim dean at UC Berkeley's School of Journalism, John McManus, director of Grade the at San Jose State University, and Stephanie Martin, reporter and anchor for KQED radio news.

To listen to this show in Realmedia or to download it as a MP3, click this link to the Forum archive.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Research Your Roots!

Learn how to research your family history by using two genealogy databases: HeritageQuest Online and Ancestry Library Edition. Each database complements the other by combining thousands of digital, searchable historical census records, key genealogy resources, and local history collections.

Heritage Quest features a search utility for genealogical books and magazines plus an index to a Revolutionary War database about individuals who served in the war and the Freedman’s Bank database which includes information about freed slaves from the Civil War. Both databases include information about the US Census. Ancestry Library includes thousands of databases on everything from the California Birth Index to a list of Japanese Americans who were relocated during World War II. In addition, Ancestry Library offers a variety of charts and forms that patrons can download to print out.

Familiarize yourself with these two resources during this one-hour demonstration.

  • Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)

  • Location: Main Library Training Center (5th Fl.)

  • Event Date and Time: Wednesday, September 12 (noon to 1 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, September 4, 2007


    Where will the NFL play its first regular-season game overseas? Who will be the Oakland Raiders’ starting quarterback? Who’s tops in the Pac-10? Will the 49ers’ defense show improvement this year? Which California Golden Bears wide receiver was recently named an ESPN Preseason All-American? Who is the NFL’s youngest head coach?

    Whether your interest is NFL or college football or both, the following magazines will keep you informed during the upcoming football season: ESPN, Sporting News, USA Today Sports Weekly, and Sports Illustrated. The Magazines and Newspapers Center subscribes to all of these titles.

    These magazines will “fire up” fans with predictions; game coverage and analysis; and interviews of the famous, up-and-coming, and not-so-famous players. Read articles and feature stories about your favorite players. Get information on various professional and college football leagues. Check out the Preseason All-American picks. See high-quality, color action photos.

    The online versions of ESPN and Sports Illustrated give the most up-to-the-minute breaking news. Enthusiasts who want to stay “in-the-know” about football stats and world-wide leagues will enjoy examining digital viewing and real-time scores by signing up through the magazines online membership programs. If this isn’t enough, watch highlights and playbacks from selected games on the NFL virtual highlights front pages. It’s sure to keep you entertained for days on end. Sooo!…“Are You Ready For Some Football?”!

    Saturday, September 1, 2007

    Labor Day

    Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Franciso Public Library

    Labor Day represents a special day in the U.S. and Canada to recognize and honor workers all over the nation. To learn more about the historical origins of this holiday:

    1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access the databases from outside the Library.

    2. Under the Categories side bar on the left, select “Encyclopedias & Dictionaries,” then select “Encyclopaedia Britannica Online.”

    3. From the search box, enter the keywords “labor day” and select the “Go” button.

    4. From the search results, select the first link (“Labor Day”).

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “In the United States, Peter J. McGuire, a union leader who had founded the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in 1881, is generally given credit for the idea of Labor Day. In 1882 he suggested to the Central Labor Union of New York that there be a celebration honouring American workers.”

    The Encyclopaedia Britannica Online (Academic Edition) contains a wealth of information on a variety of topics drawn from several encyclopedias as well as video clips, atlases, selected articles from the New York Times and BBC News, historical timelines, quotations, and more.

    Tuesday, August 28, 2007

    Celestial Objects

    I’m no astronomer but when I see the names of galaxies, constellations and other celestial objects, they sound so beautiful I want to rush out, buy a telescope and start star gazing. If you’re like me, you might want to begin your star gazing education with Sky and Telescope magazine which we carry back to 1985. This astronomy magazine includes a star chart for each month, lots of news about observing and exploring the sky, product reviews and a marketplace section in the back where you can not only buy a telescope and a pair of binoculars but also eclipse shades! You never know, these shades could be the next big fashion accessory.

    The Sky and Telescope Web site includes observing highlights for the week, lots of blogs about observing, and many articles for beginners such as "How to Start Right in Astronomy" by Alan M. Mac Robert.

    While you’re at it, check out the latest version of Google Earth which now includes images of the sky.

    Lastly, if you love the mention of Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Perseus and other celestial objects, check out the mythology magazine, Parabola, which the library owns back to 1985. This way you can discover the origin of these beautiful Greek names. Their Web site is at:

    Saturday, August 25, 2007

    867-5309...Using a Reverse Directory

    Have you ever had a phone number but not a name?

    There are two kinds of phone directories, ones with the entries ordered by name alphabetically or by subject and ones with entries ordered by number or by location. These are called "reverse directories" and can be very useful when you want to find the information attached to a number or an address.

    The Magazines and Newspapers Center holds two kinds of "reverse directory" reference sources. The first are print resources called the Polk's Directory, 1953-1982, and The Haines Directory, 1976 - Current, and the AT&T Street Addresss Telephone Directory. All of these directories are available at the Center's Reference Desk. These directories are extremely helpful--and sometimes full of surprises-- to genealogical researchers.

    The second kind of reverse directory is the Reference USA database where you can enter a ten digit number and perform a search. Reference USA comprises the library's largest telephone reference source and holds over 14 million business numbers and 210 million residential numbers in the United States.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2007

    Hawaii Statehood

    On August 21, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the proclamation that welcomed Hawaii as the 50th state of the union. If you want to see how this historic event was reported in the New York Times or even read the actual proclamation:

    1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and select Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the library.

    2. Select the New York Times Historical database.

    3. In the Advanced Search mode, enter the keywords Hawaii AND statehood.

    4. Select Date range: on this date. Enter 08/22/1959.

    5. Here’s a citation for an article:
    Hawaii becomes the 50th state; New Flag shown. By W.H. Lawrence. New York Times, August 22, 1959, pg. 1

    Here’s an excerpt:

    “Hawaii was officially proclaimed as the fiftieth state of the United States today by President Eisenhower at bipartisan White House ceremonies.

    The Presidential action was followed immediately by the unfurling of a new fifty-star flag, which will not become official until next July 4. The thirteen alternate red and white stripes remain unchanged, but the stars on a field of blue are arranged in nine alternate staggered rows of six and five stars each.”

    Saturday, August 18, 2007


    Are you interested in the Bay Area's finest gay-friendly businesses? Want to know how gay architect Mark Brand is making his mark? Have you heard of pink-picks? Where do you find out about same-sex marriage? Interested in equal rights for domestic partners?

    Pink magazine was launched in 1990 in New York. Originally named Pink Pages, it was the first magazine and community directory focused for the gay market in Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Published quarterly, Pink has expanded its coverage to include Atlanta and Seattle. It is considered to be one of the largest gay and lesbian community directories in the nation.

    Pink’s goal is to provide a variety of resources about travel and culture, fashion and design, and entertainment and health. Aimed at a diverse audience, Pink promises to provide the most sophisticated journalism to the GLBT community.

    The Magazines and Newspapers Center has issues of Pink (San Francisco Bay Area edition) dating back to last year.

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Home improvements

    “I’m interested in construction, but not industrial construction. I want to fix a squeak in the hardwood floors, but I don't want to rebuild the whole house. What magazines would help me?”

    Put down the blow torch and come to the Magazines and Newspapers Center at the San Francisco Main Library! Along with trade magazines for the construction industry such as Construction Specifier, Construction Equipment Distribution, Construction Equipment, and others, we also have magazines to help the weekend warrior, the do-it-yourselfer, and the head of the household handyman.

    Here are a few titles from our collection:

    JLC: the Journal of Light Construction - The articles are detailed, and the magazine has lots of helpful step-by-step pictures. The Magazines and Newspapers Center has copies dating back to 1994.

    This Old House - This magazine provides good information and detailed diagrams if you are working with interiors. The Magazines and Newspapers Center has copies dating back to 1995.

    Saturday, August 11, 2007

    San Francisco Bay Area obituary search services

    Obituaries are one of the first documents that researchers will consult to find information about a family's history. Most often published in the deceased's local area newspaper, obtaining obituaries can require a substantial amount of legwork if all of the searches are done "in person".

    To help alleviate this burden, many libraries and genealogical societies offer obituary search services. The requirements vary - some are free services, others charge a fee - and often there is an application to fill out in order for the agency to have enough information to attempt a worthwhile search.

    Here are some links to a sample of the organizations in the Bay Area that will perform this service:

    San Francisco Public Library Magazines and Newspapers Center - Obituaries/Death Notices

    Oakland Public Library - Family History and Genealogy Resources

    Alameda County Library - Frequently Asked Reference Questions

    San Mateo County Genealogical Society (information available through Research Sevices link)

    Santa Clara County Library - Obituary Searches

    System Reference Center (BALIS/PLS/SVLS) - Fee Services

    Marin County Library - Ask Us a Question

    Contra Costa County Library - Obituary Request Form

    Tuesday, August 7, 2007

    International Gymnast

    The 2007 USA Gymnastics National Championships (2007 Visa Championships) will be held in San Jose, California on August 15-18. The 2007-08 U.S. National Team for women’s and men’s artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and acrobatic gymnastics will be named at the conclusion of the competition.

    International Gymnast magazine provides insight into the gymnastics world. Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner are currently associated with the magazine as contributing editor and associate publisher. This glossy, informative, and comprehensive publication covers the national and international gymnastics scene. Each issue has numerous exquisite color stop-action photographs; in-depth articles on competitions; profiles and interviews of gymnasts and coaches; and a calendar of events. A centerfold color poster of a gymnast in action is included in every issue.

    The Magazines and Newspapers Center has issues of the magazine from 1972 to the present.

    Friday, August 3, 2007


    Clipart courtesy FCIT

    Did you know the month of August was named after a Roman emperor? Did you also know the word “august” can be an adjective meaning to inspire awe, admiration, and majesty? To discover how the word “august” has evolved over the centuries, check out the online version of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), an authoritative and historical dictionary on the English language over the last millennium:

    1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and click on Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.

    2. Under the Categories side bar heading on the left, click “Encyclopedias and Dictionaries,” then click on the Oxford English Dictionary.

    3. In the search box, enter “august” and click “Find Word.”

    4. Click on any of the links to access the noun, adjective, or verb definitions of the word “august.”

    With the online version of the OED, you can explore the pronunciation of over half a million words from the past and present, examine how a particular word was used in history and literature over a specific time period, trace its linguistic origin, and see how its spelling and usage has evolved over time.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2007

    An online magazine for Bay Area classical music lovers

    The Library subscribes to several titles, such as American Record Guide, Opera News, The Gramophone, and BBC Music Magazine, that cover classical music events from all over the world.

    However, one of the best sources for those interested in the local classical music scene is available only on the web. It is called the San Francisco Classical Voice and it is published every Tuesday. These "issues" can be received by signing up for e-mail delivery or by RSS feed.

    From the San Francisco Classical Voice's About page:

    "SFCV is an online magazine that offers reviews and previews of the Bay Area's wide range of classical music performances; insightful features from leading writers; news about the music scene; and the most complete calendar of events. With arts coverage shrinking in most media outlets, SFCV has become a leading source of information to the Bay Area community and a model for other cities around the country."

    "Since September 1, 1998, SFCV has published, in addition to our weekly features, Music News, and Listening Ahead columns, over 2,700 reviews of Bay Area performances by symphony orchestras, recital presenters, opera companies, chamber groups, new-music ensembles and programs, early-music ensembles, choral groups, music festivals, chamber orchestras, musical theater groups, world music groups, youth music ensembles, and other organizations."

    Saturday, July 28, 2007

    The Future How?

    Good design used to require creative talent, but now it involves a wide range of skills that include visual skills, collaboration and project management skills, technical and programming skills, and ultimately the ability to synthesize these capabilities into a coherent and engaging design.

    How magazine showcases articles on all these factors to help you both understand good design in the networked and wireless age as well as how to implement them in your own design work.

    Today, everyone is a writer, designer, and media producer. Everyone is part of the global audience using a variety of media and devices. Take a look at How magazine and see how the world of information and design is converging.

    To learn more about How magazine, go to

    To find out about SFPL holdings for this magazine, click here.

    Tuesday, July 24, 2007

    American Bungalow

    What is a bungalow?
    Where does the term “bungalow" come from?
    How does a bungalow’s architectural style differ?
    Can you name various bungalow types?
    Did you know all these questions can be answered at the San Francisco Public Library’s Magazines and Newspapers Center which has issues of American Bungalow back to 2001?

    American Bungalow focuses on the preservation and restoration of 20th century homes called bungalows. This lavish, glossy quarterly provides insight to design ideas for restoring, remodeling, and even building new and updated bungalows. Colorful photographs illustrate the interiors and exteriors of featured houses. The magazine covers such topics as antiques and accessories; history; furnishings; events; the arts and crafts movement; landscaping; books and more. You will become thoroughly educated about these unique homes!

    Sunday, July 22, 2007

    Chile Pepper magazine

    Do elephants eat chiles? Need a chile peanut butter pie recipe? Looking for a fiery hot chocolate mix? Want to make your own home-grown hot sauce? Grow the world’s hottest chile pepper? Read about the first company to bottle jerk seasoning? Chile Pepper magazine has the answer to these questions and more.

    Chile Pepper caters to people who have a taste for hot foods from all over the world. With a wealth of recipes, this bimonthly magazine will guide the reader through Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, as well as the Cajun, Texan, and Southwestern cuisine of the U.S. in search of the spiciest of spicy foods. Dedicated to the spicy side of life, each issue brings you restaurants and reviews, chef and celebrity profiles, travel, tips and techniques, and more than 50 recipes. "From hot sauce to haute cuisine, from Baton Rouge to Bali," Chile Pepper covers it.

    Although the online version of this magazine requires a subscription fee, you can read it for free in the Magazines and Newspapers Center. We have issues back to last year.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love

    What was life like in San Francisco during the summer of 1967, the “Summer of Love”? Some of us were around to remember it, others have forgotten and many weren’t even here yet. Refresh your memories or learn about it first hand (well, second hand) with articles from the Underground Newspaper Microfilm Collection. This collection contains several Bay Area publications such as the Black Panther Newspaper, the Oracle and the Berkeley Barb.

    You can even go further afield to other locations as it also includes hundreds of alternative newspapers from all over the United States and around the world. Available only on microfilm, not online, you will need to come to the Magazines and Newspapers Center to read the newspapers.

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Researching Your Family History

    The Magazines and Newspapers Center presents "Researching Your Family History."

    How do you begin researching your family history? In this presentation, learn basic research strategies and explore resources from the Internet and the San Francisco Public Library to gather genealogical and historical information to trace your family roots.

    When: Saturday, July 28, 2007 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

    Where: San Francisco Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room

    Presenters: Ron Filion and Pamela Storm, co-founders of the San Francisco Genealogy Web site

    Cost: Free! This program is funded by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Using RSS Feeds for Real-Time Research on the Web

    On Monday, July 23, 2007 at noon, the Magazines and Newspapers Center will present a workshop on RSS feeds--“Using RSS Feeds for Real-Time Research on the Web.” Learn about RSS feeds and how they can help you access the latest, cutting-edge news and dynamically shifting information on the Web to monitor your favorite news sources, Web sites, blogs and podcasts. This hands-on workshop takes place in the 5th floor Main Library Training Center.

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Baseball All-Star Game

    Candlestick Park, July 11, 1961.  Courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library The 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be played in San Francisco on July 10, 2007 at AT&T Park. Perhaps you might wish to read about the first time San Francisco hosted the All-Star Game in 1961 at Candlestick Park.

    The Magazines and Newspapers Center has the San Francisco Chronicle Index, 1950-1980 on microfiche. In the index, under the topic “Baseball, Major League – All-star Game…," you will find citations to San Francisco Chronicle articles on July 11, 1961 (day of the game) and on July 12. The Center has a complete set of the San Francisco Chronicle on microfilm.

    The Chronicle Sporting Green headline for July 11, 1961 announced “Ford and Spahn to Start Today In ‘Dream Game’ at Candlestick." Additional articles, “Ol’ Casey Banquet Hit” and Art Rosenbaum’s “Why the All-Star Players Really Care," provided even more pregame color for the event.

    The San Francisco Chronicle front page headline for July 12, 1961 stated with chagrin “How Wind Conquered Mighty All-Stars." The front page of the Chronicle Sporting Green for the same day continued the feeling with the headline “The Wind Howled and Stars Cried."

    The Chronicle Sporting Green recapped the game in a July 12 article “Mays’ Hit Ties It, Run Clinches It” by Bill Leiser. The opening sentence poetically described the end of the game: “Sharp, sudden, crackling hits by Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente gave the National League a 5-4, 10-inning victory over the American League in the 30th All-Star Game yesterday after the contest had all but exploded in struggling Stu Miller’s face.”

    Photograph of Candlestick Park courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Fourth of July

    With the Fourth of July coming up soon, dazzling displays of fireworks and firecrackers will herald the arrival of our nation’s Independence Day. To explore some brief historical facts about firecrackers, try this search in one of our magazine databases:

    1. Go to the SFPL Home Page and click on Articles & Databases. You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to get into the databases from outside the Library.
    2. Click on the EBSCOHost Magazines database.
    3. In the Advanced Search mode, enter the keywords Fourth of July AND firecrackers.
    4. Here is the citation: The Big Bang. By: Lee, R. V.American History, Aug 2005, Vol. 40 Issue 3, p68-69, 2p, 2c.

    Here is an excerpt:

    “Fireworks and firecrackers were delighting people long before the discovery of the New World, and in Colonial America they continued to mark special occasions. John Adams had proclaimed that the nation's birthday "Ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for evermore."

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Welcome to the SFPL Magazines and Newspapers Center Blog

    Welcome to the blog of the San Francisco Public Library Magazines and Newspapers Center. We are here to share information about our wonderful resources with you.

    The Center holds thousands of magazines and newspapers from the past to the present, along with San Francisco City Directories and telephone books from around the country. In addition, you can take advantage of the Library's rich online collection of magazine and newspaper article databases to help with your research. To access these databases from outside the Library, you will need a San Francisco Public Library card.

    We also conduct classes and offer presentations on genealogy research, the evolving Web 2.0 and many other subjects.

    We look forward to telling you all about our services and resources. Please send us your comments.

    - The Magazines and Newspapers Center Staff