Thursday, December 31, 2009

Richard Rodriguez on state of newspapers

In an article entitled "Final Edition: Twilight of the American Newspaper" (Harper's Magazine, November 2009), Richard Rodriguez writes about the diminishing presence of newspapers in our society. Rodriguez describes the relationship of newspaper and city, how they have created and defined one another, and what this might mean when newspapers die.

One point of Rodriguez' focus becomes the newspapers of his native city, San Francisco. He details the history of two - the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner - showing how they each were products of their time and proprietors. The cast of characters include the Chronicle's founders the de Young brothers, the Examiner's William Randolph Hearst, and the City's most famous columnist (and our department's namesake), Herb Caen.

If you are interested in the City and its journalistic milieu, this is an article to seek out.

Richard Rodriguez is the author of such books as Hunger of Memory, Days of Obligation and Brown: the last discovery of America and a frequent essayist on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Monday, December 28, 2009


RAMPARTS was one of the most influential voices of the radical underground juxtaposed against an all-pervasive overground of mass market and establishment publications on the newstands of America from 1962-1975. From its beginnings in Menlo Park as a soul-searching Catholic literary quarterly as envisioned by publisher Edward Keating, this compelling title evolved into a forum for legendary muckraking and take-no-prisoners investigatory journalism and sweeping social commentary in the hands of San Francisco editors Warren Hinckle, Robert Scheer, David Horowitz, art director Dugald Stermer and the prolific contributions of many others.

Ramparts helped bridge a growing credibility gap between mollifying democratic rhetoric and polarizing social issues, Cold War certitudes, and geopolitical realities. Pro-civil rights, anti-war, and champion promoters of good, old-fashioned American dissent, Ramparts stood alone against the journalistic mainstream with deep political analysis, subversive commentary, alternative opinions, and divergent viewpoints. Armed with both the courage of moral conscience and an unswerving social commitment to the exercise of free speech, Ramparts found

"purpose as a magazine . . . to shatter that predisposition to treat the secret covenants of government and power as sacrosanct . . . ."-- Warren Hinckle, June 15, 1968

Recording the tumultuous cultural and political changes of its era while at the same time helping to instigate much of that same ferment, Ramparts went behind the scenes to expose U. S. government perfidy and genocide in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia; blew the whistle on CIA links to American universities, illegal domestic surveillance, and a lucrative overseas opium trade; revealed conspiracy and cover-up in the murder of President Kennedy; documented the blood vendetta of the FBI versus the Black Panthers; reported local and national environmental issues in depth; published first the Bolivian diary of Che Guevara, the recanting of ex-Green Beret Donald Duncan, the prison writings of Eldridge Cleaver, and much more.

The complete collection of Ramparts magazine is available to readers and researchers at the Magazines and Newspapers Center on the fifth floor of the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. For a special presentation on the life and times of this landmark San Francisco journal, you are invited to attend a live event with author Peter Richardson, A BOMB IN EVERY ISSUE: HOW RAMPARTS MAGAZINE CHANGED AMERICA. This library program will take place on Saturday, January 23rd at 11AM at the Main Library.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Refundle Bundle

Once again, that “Jolly, Holly Season” is here upon us and we mortals will be celebrating with excitement, joy, and much merrymaking around the world. It’s a time for soul searching, gift giving, religious renewals, generosity, and let’s not forget, such “Good Samaritanship.” Many of us will be searching for bargain hunting deals, using coupon vouchers for purchases, budgeting suggestions, and ideas on how to purchase the best-for-less. Here at the San Francisco Public Library, the Magazines and Newspapers Center houses a “savvy” little magazine called Refundle Bundle. Edited by Susan J. Samtur (who hails as the original coupon queen), this resourceful guide is all about saving consumers a bundle of cash, yet allowing them to buy a bundle of goods.

Published bi-monthly, Refundle Bundle offers tips & tidbits, freebies, company information, coupon swapping how-tos, supermarket money savers, getting cash back from manufacturers, Internet Web site savings, and much more . . . So if you want to get into the spirit of holiday gift giving, buy and save a bundle at the same time, check out the latest issue of Refundle Bundle’s tips on happy holiday savings!” Also, for more gift-giving ideas, take a look at these money saving magazines: Lucky and ShopSmart.

Friday, December 4, 2009

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photographs - Hands-on Training

Join us for a hands-on demonstration session designed to introduce patrons to a valuable San Francisco Public Library resource - the cost-free digital scanning of photographs, negatives, slides and film! Together, we will scan, capture and edit images in the microfilm room on the fifth floor Magazines and Newspapers Center.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, December 14, 2009 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

ALTA CALIFORNIA Battles Crime in the City


Few of the historical publications in the Magazine and Newspapers Center microfilm collection have as storied a San Francisco past as the ALTA CALIFORNIA. Initially a reclamation project of publisher Edward C. Kemble and some fellow investors, the ALTA was forged from the remains of what had once been THE CALIFORNIAN and the CALIFORNIA STAR newspapers - victims, as much as anything else, of the Gold Rush itself (and the subsequent manpower shortage resulting from the mass exodus to the hills). The first city daily paper, the ALTA CALIFORNIA (1849-1891) itself shared - and made - much of the vibrant early history and events of San Francisco. It was a time of foundation building (and rebuilding), moralizing, retribution, and not a little sanctification - generated from scratch . . .

The ALTA's Edward Gilbert and associates took some strong editorial stands in their day. Commenting on imports in March 1851, the paper voiced a complaint that San Francisco merchants (amidst growing pains) would only repeat in succeeding years:

"Before, we could not get adequate
supplies from all sources; now we find
our markets broken down with merchandise
from the eastern states . . . ."

Thus addressing the problems of over-supply in imported merchant goods, the ALTA would subsequently foresee a peaking gold production and a diminished growth in mining, and would point (early on) to the need for a more diversified and sustainable economy for Californians.

Dramatic historical events link the DAILY ALTA CALIFORNIA most closely to the phenomenon of crime and vigilantism in frontier San Francisco, for the paper took a strong, outspoken, and active participatory role in the local struggle for the establishment of law and order. The ALTA came down early on crime, beginning on January 1, 1851:

"There are some three hundred thieves in this city, who live by their profession, and prefer to live so rather than work . . . ."

and continuing in this vein in late February 1851:

"No place seems safe from outrage, no person secure, even in his own dwelling . . . the floodgates of crime, which seem opened by the devil's hand and flowing from his infernal abode through our very midst . . . ."

Crime in Gold Rush San Francisco plagued the populace to alarming degrees, in the predominant forms of assault, battery, larceny, criminal arson and murder. The ALTA, as did other local newspapers, blamed Australian (and later Chinese) immigrants at large for much of early San Francisco's rampant vice and lawlessness in the February 25, 1851 issue:

"The state of California has been made the grand rendezvous for the transported felons of Great Britain, who have either managed to escape or have been assisted in their embarkation from the penal colonies."


Friday, November 20, 2009

Collaborative Recipes

When you run a search on Google nowadays, you may discover results from Wikipedia, an online universal encyclopedia where anyone can add, delete, revise, or edit content. Transfer this concept to the world of cooking, and you might find yourself inundated with a whirlwind of ideas in the culinary arts.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approaching, you might want to revisit, sharpen, or even expand your culinary skills. Foodista, a wiki where food afficionados can "find, share and learn about food and cooking," can help you along this path. Enter a term or phrase like "eggs" into the search box. On the right-hand side, you will see your results categorized into related foods, techniques, and tools.

Want to add some spice to your dish? Refer to our blog posting on chile peppers. Have a knack for baking? Then maybe you'd like to review our Cook's Illustrated posting. And of course, don't forget our leftovers posting.

Foodista is an online cooking encyclopedia where anyone edit and add to its evolving content. Discover new ways of combining ingredients, swap and enhance recipes with other online participants, and share cooking techniques with all food lovers and culinary enthusiasts. Read the reviews on this Web site to hear what people are saying about this Foodista.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New York Review of Books - Articles about Newspapers and the Internet

Two articles by Michael Massing appeared recently in the New York Review of Books describing the current state of journalism in newspapers and the Web.
"The News About the Internet"
This article, published in the August 13, 2009 issue, talks about how blogging has developed and how the practice is being incorporated into more traditional mainstream media outlets.

"A New Horizon for the News"
The follow up article, published in the September 24, 2009 issue, discusses the economic issues affecting the operations of newspapers and discusses some new models for continuing journalism.

The New York Review of Books, a long-standing, thought-provoking magazine for well over 40 years, highlights stimulating essays on current topics on literature, culture, and current affairs, lengthy reviews by and about major authors, and original poetry. To read more articles from this eclectic magazine, drop by the Magazines & Newspapers Center.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gourmet Magazine, 1941-2009

Citing a slump in ad revenue, magazine publisher Conde Nast announced recently that it will shutter four of its titles including the venerable Gourmet Magazine.

In much the same way that the success of Nora Ephron's Julie and Julia was an opportunity to reflect upon Julia Child's contribution to American home cooking, the passing of Gourmet offers the chance to reflect on the expansion of the average American's palate. When the first issue of Gourmet hit the stands in 1941, the most "exotic" restaurant in most towns would have probably been Italian; today, it's not unusual for a person in even a small town to be able to choose from East Asian, Indian, or Central and South American eateries, plus creative cuisines that transcend geography. My grandparents considered mayo the default condiment; today, I can usually count on finding salsa, soy sauce, and at least one type of hot sauce in my friends' refrigerators.

I have to suspect that at least some of the credit for the wonderful diversity in food choices in the U.S. should go to a couple generations of adventurous home cooks, many of whom surely conducted their kitchen experiments with a whisk in one hand and a copy of Gourmet in the other.

For a terrific example of the thoughtful food writing that Gourmet published, look no further than the August 2004 issue, in which David Foster Wallace takes a characteristically thorough look at the pesky ethical issues surrounding the practice of cooking and eating lobster. "Consider the Lobster," which was later included in a collection of Wallace's nonfiction writing bearing the same name, is an example of how good food writing can transcend mere recipes and touch on issues of culture, philosophy, and community. This type of writing was common in Gourmet and will be missed by many.

To take a look at "Consider the Lobster" or any other issue of Gourmet between 1946 and 2009, stop by the Magazines and Newspapers Center.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Power Googling

On Saturday, November 7, 2009 from 2 to 3:30 p.m., the Magazines and Newspapers Center will offer a workshop--"Power Googling"--where you can explore and unlock some of the hidden features inside Google.

Many people use Google to conduct basic searches on the Web, but rarely tap into its advanced search options. In this workshop, prepare to explore and unlock some of Google’s hidden features and resources, fine-tune your searches with prefix operators and “hacks,” manipulate search results, and unleash the full power of Google.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor Training Center
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, November 7, 2009 (2 to 3:30 p.m.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

San Francisco Pioneer Cemeteries

The Magazines and Newspapers Center will present a program on Saturday, October 31, from 10:30 a.m. to noon—San Francisco Pioneer Cemeteries.
In association with One City One Book: San Francisco Reads, Ron Filion, co-manager of the SF Genealogy web site, will take you on a historical tour of the earliest cemeteries in San Francisco. He will show their locations, discuss how the City’s growth affected them, and share stories about their relocations. This presentation will not be for the faint of heart.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room
- Event Date and Time: Saturday, October 31 (10:30 a.m. to noon)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ABCs of Digital Microfilm Scanning -- Hands-on

Explore and capture digital images from the archival microfilm periodicals collection on the Fifth Floor, Magazines and Newspapers Center! Join us as we read, scan, and reproduce historical print images using the high resolution digital scanners here in the Main Library.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, October 19 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Please meet in the Magazines and Newspapers Center Microfilm Room.

Monday, October 5, 2009

5:04 PM

It happened 20 years ago on a quiet evening just like any other. At 5:00 p.m., people were either getting off of work or wrapping up their projects for the day, preparing to go home or out to dinner. At Candlestick Park, the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants were just about to launch the third game of the 1989 World Series. Within the next 5 minutes, a tremor ripped right across the San Francisco Bay Area and almost immediately, confusion and chaos erupted: Car alarms blared, traffic lights lost power, and buses and cars in the streets came to a stop.

On the evening of October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area. Take a trip down memory lane by accessing photographs of this event through the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection--one of many SFPL-Created Research Tools:
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. Enter "loma prieta earthquake" into the search box to pull up photographs of the earthquake.

4. Select "View image" to see these photos and "View Record" to get more information.

Last but not least, prepare for the Big Rumble at the San Francisco Public Library: Learn more about earthquake preparedness and watch a documentary narrating a first-person account of the 1989 World Series Earthquake Game on Wednesday, October 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Library.

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

Monday, September 28, 2009

Punk Passage Reads

The first wave of San Francisco's punk rock scene in images and memorabilia is on view now at the Main Library.


The Magazines and Newspapers Center on the Fifth Floor of the Main Library offers archived microfilm of the newspapers and magazines that chronicled the New Wave and Punk scene unique to San Francisco.

Come see the exhibits and attend the events on our Lower Level (through December 6th). Then come upstairs and research the innovative music, creative explosion, and the generation that made up a scene fresh with both passion and militancy. From our periodicals collection, trace all the tumultuous events just as they happened.

Our selection includes Search and Destroy (featuring many Ruby Ray photographs) in our Underground Newpapers collection, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, as well as East Bay publications like Bay Area Musicians and the Berkeley Barb.

It happened here. Do it yourself. Find out more of your local history, music and culture. It's at your library.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

ABCs of Digital Scanning Photographs

The Magazines and Newspapers Center invites you to an introductory demonstration session featuring hands-on digital scanning of photographs, negatives, and film.

We will scan and capture images, save to flash drive, e-mail, and print -- and turn negatives into positive photographic images! Come scan with us in the microfilm room on the Fifth Floor on Monday, September 28th.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, September 28, 2009 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Introducing the Portable Book Club

Despite all the technological advances, conveniences, and entertainment devices bombarding us on a daily basis, regardless of all the hand-held gadgets such as iPods, iPhones, and Kindle and Sony e-readers designed to keep us from getting bored, libraries continue to provide a source of recreation that people of all ages can appreciate and enjoy--technology-free books for reading. After all, what would a public library be without a diverse collection of books to attract people from all walks of life?

Here at the Magazines & Newspapers Center, though we house thousands of periodicals for your pure enjoyment or academic research, we would like to remind you that for you avid fiction readers, there are fantastic electronic resources worth tapping into. For example, you can use our Novelist database to get book recommendations, or if you have children, consider exploring Novelist K-8.

Even better, for those of you who might be interested in reading groups, learn how to start and run a book club. Now, you can check out a Book Club kit as the San Francisco Public Library launches its Book Club in a Box program which "provides an all-in-one check-out for book clubs, with everything in one bag that book clubs need for a great discussion." Book Club kits can be checked out for six weeks and renewed up to three times if there are no holds placed on them. Check them out from the Main Library on the first floor.

Saturday, September 5, 2009



The Magazines and Newspapers Center of the San Francisco Public Library offers a wealth of archived historical resources pertaining to the entire tumultuous day-by-day frontier saga of our city - as told within the pages of the rough-and-tumble newspapers of the 1800s - all in our microfilm collection on the fifth floor.

The early newspapers of San Francisco faced many obstacles between printing press and distribution. Hearty and resourceful publishers faced periodic paper shortages, battled catastrophic fires (between 1849 and 1851, the entire city managed to burn itself to the ground a good half dozen times), opposed labor insurrections, outrode economic turbulence, and competed in an increasingly volatile newspaper market that struggled to establish itself under crude and frontier conditions. Some titles came and went in a very short time. One such paper was the CALIFORNIA STAR. Other publications survived to chronicle a great deal of the daily lawlessness, fear, adventure, and extraordinary courage of San Francisco's early trailblazers.
The populist, independent, and influential ALTA CALIFORNIA was originally issued three times per week (beginning January 4, 1849) - by a crew of eleven printers using handset type - before eventually becoming the first ever daily paper in San Francisco, by January of 1850.

Publisher Edward C. Kemble was a determined and visionary printer with strong entrepreneurial interests. Having noted the frenzied activity and heightened interest citywide that seemed to surround the various San Francisco port arrivals and departures, Kemble initiated the first ALTA CALIFORNIA steamer edition on April 9, 1849. These were high-demand, special export press runs of the ALTA (transported by sea vessel) that covered local affairs and California news for readers along the faraway Atlantic Coast.

Wide distribution and a growing local readership made Kemble's ALTA the top journal in early San Francisco.

By the end of 1850, the ALTA CALIFORNIA (along with four other city newspapers) found itself reeling in the bitter conflict between management and house printers over fluctuating wage rates. A number of organized printers had formed the San Francisco Typographical Society in June of 1850. Publishers had fought back with the formation of the Associated Press of the State of California, which was born at an August 8-13th, 1851 statewide convention of editors and reporters. Amongst the publishing concerns (which included newspaper men from as far away as San Diego, Sacramento, Sonora, and San Joaquin) on hand were representatives from San Francisco's EVENING PICAYUNE, the MORNING POST, the SAN FRANCISCO HERALD, and of course the ALTA CALIFORNIA.

The AP convention established a standardization of general advertising rates, those for auctioneers, and prorated charges for "political, religious or benevolent notices".

Wage proposals for printers were parried and discussed with members of the San Francisco Typographical Society, along with accompanying efforts to establish standard cost rates for printing posters, circulars, deeds, consignment works, and the like.

What the Associated Press convention did not resolve was the ongoing scale dispute regarding printer's wages, the most contentious issue dividing printers and publishers. For its part, the ALTA CALIFORNIA opposed the unionized typographers with a wholesale (though temporary) layoff of affiliated members, declaring editorially in the October 28th, 1851 issue:

"We bore their tyranny as long as it could be borne,

and until we could free ourselves from it . . .
having paid them for their services . . .
we can afford to let them take their own course."

The San Francisco Typographical Society became the Eureka Typographical Union in late 1853; two years later affiliated members forged Local No. 21 of the National Typographical Union. The ALTA was the first of the San Francisco papers to utilize a steam printing press. The resourceful typographers not only thrived alongside this innovation, but successfully adapted to the linotype (typesetting) machine in the 1890s. And yes, Local 21 proudly lives on today.

The ALTA CALIFORNIA rose from the ashes of the dying CALIFORNIA STAR and the CALIFORNIAN, and from the start, tirelessly advocated for the establishment of civil organizations as a prelude to prospective statehood. In its very first issue, the ALTA cast itself as self-appointed arbiter, conscience and clarion of unimpeachable veracity on January 4, 1849:

"The unenviable position which this sheet at present occupies of being the only paper printed in California renders it imperatively necessary that it should be independent and fair."

The ALTA was an active participant in the creation of a provisional government, and for some years afterward, furnished a public voice and print oracle for municipal reform in San Francisco. On a statewide level, the paper reported in detail the September-October, 1849 Monterey constitutional state convention, led a successful campaign to retain United States Army headquarters in San Francisco (by strenuously opposing the erstwhile plans of military authorities to relocate operations to Benicia), and the ALTA reported (October 19, 1850) the arrival of the steamer Oregon, bearing official notification of the admission of California as the 31st state of the Union.

Next: the ALTA CALIFORNIA battles crime in the city

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Load Up Your Academic Ammunition

Are you using library databases yet? With the school season swinging back in action, you might want to load up on some academic ammunition to tackle research papers, essays, and projects in your classes. In addition to the wide selection of newspapers, magazines, and journals at the Magazines & Newspapers Center, the San Francisco Public Library carries an extensive range of e-media and databases.

We recently acquired a new scholarly database--Academic OneFile--which contains "peer-reviewed, full-text articles from the world's leading journals and reference sources" and includes "extensive coverage of physical sciences, technology, medicine, social sciences, the arts, theology, literature and other subjects."

To access this 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 "Articles and News," select Academic OneFile at the top of the list.

3. In the basic search box, enter "green living":

4. After running your search, you'll see a list of articles from academic journals, magazines, books, newspapers, and multimedia resources. Select any tab to access articles in that category. In addition, the left-hand side bar highlights relevant links to images, videos, and podcasts.

Academic OneFile is only one of many electronic databases you can access with your San Francisco Public Library card. For even more fascinating educational resources, check out these cool back-to-school online resources for both students and educators. The universe of knowledge is just a library card away.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Literary Extravaganza

During the summer, you might spend much of your leisure time reading your favorite novels and indulging in romance, science-fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, horror, and other genres. At other times, you might prefer to sample more literary, eclectic pieces of writing. Here at the Magazines & Newspapers Center, we offer a variety of titles that will supplement your literary fix through titles such as Fourteen Hills, Glimmer Train, Tin House, Zoetrope, and ZYZZYVA.

Fourteen Hills - A literary journal published by the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University since 1994, this publication holds "an impressive reputation among international literary magazines for publishing the highest-quality innovative poetry, fiction, short plays, and literary nonfiction."

Glimmer Train - A quarterly literary magazine featuring short stories by "luminaries and fresh new voices," interviews with writers and other artists, and spotlights on short fiction writing from different parts of the world. This publication also sponsors periodic fiction-writing competitions across a wide range of genres.

Tin House - This quarterly magazine presents stories, poems, and profiles/interviews with writers. Book reviews highlight lesser-known authors and books. Past selections from Tin House have been anthologized in the O'Henry, Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, and Pushcart Prize collections.

Zoetrope - A well-crafted, quarterly literary magazine founed by film director Francis Ford Coppola intended to "explore the intersection of story and art, fiction and film." Features short stories, essays on the story genre, reprints of classic stories adapted for the screen, and one-act plays.

ZYZZYVA - Last but not least, the San Francisco-based ZYZZYVA, published three times a year, highlights West Coast (namely, California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii) writers and artists and offers a broad selection of fiction, poetry, essays and art.

Finally, on Sunday, August 23, the San Francisco Public Library will be hosting the 25th anniversary celebration of ZYZZYVA. Come celebrate this literary festivity and visit the Magazines and Newspapers Center if you would like to discover even more literary magazines to whet your leisurely reading appetite.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Government Magazines for the People

It appears that the Magazines and Newspapers Center has inspired our next-door neighbors here at the Main Library to embrace magazines from their collection.

Beginning recently, the Government Information Center (GIC), the department that occupies the other half of the fifth floor here at the Main Library, will regularly select a few magazine titles from their collection and display current issues near the atrium across from their reference desk. The GIC's large collection consists of materials published by various government entities (mainly the Federal, California, and San Francisco Governments), and also other publications relating to law, public policy, and political science. The Wallace Stegner Environmental Center is also part of the GIC, and a few of their titles will appear on the rack.

The selections will rotate so that as many titles as possible can be featured. Here's a sampler of some titles from the GIC collection:

Amber Waves is a publication of the economics division of the US Department of Agriculture. If you're interested in the politics of food, (I'm talking to you, Michael Pollan fans), this title is for you.

Edible San Francisco, which comes courtesy of the Stegner Environmental Center, is all about food: delicious, sustainable, locally-sourced, and environmentally-friendly food. Feel free to drool with a clear conscience.

The ABA Journal, published by the American Bar Association, (Government documents librarians love three-letter acronyms, btw) is a great source for news and trends from the legal world. And, unlike all of those law reviews, you don't have to be a lawyer to understand what the writers are talking about.

Our friends at the California Highway Patrol (no, not Ponch and Jon) put out a great monthly magazine called Zenith 12000. It's actually the employee publication of the CHP, but it gives great insight into what's going on in California's state police force. Why Zenith 12000? According to the California Documents Librarian, back in the days when telephone numbers included a word and a number (think Klondike 5-4385), Zenith 12000 was the equivalent of 911.

These are just a taste of what is available through the GIC. The department hopes that by displaying these magazines, they'll get the word out about some of the great publications put out by government agencies.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

New Database: PressDisplay Newspapers

The Library has recently subscribed to a new database that provides access to many of the world's newspapers. The database is called PressDisplay, and a link for it can be found on the Library's "Articles and Databases" page.

Two features in particular make this database stand out:

1) The database provides full text and images in the paper's original layout. It's just like looking at a paper copy!

2) The database often offers same day coverage for most titles with a 60-day rolling archive. This means you can see what's going on at home today regardless of whether home is Pittsburgh, PA or Valleta, Malta.

Both features greatly enhance our international collection of newspapers. PressDisplay offers newspapers from 81 countries in 38 languages. However, if you prefer your newspaper "in paper" and maybe not quite as rapidly, you can still find copies of domestic papers in English here in the Magazines and Newspapers Center and foreign language papers at the International Center.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Navigating News Sites

On Monday, July 27, 2009 at noon, the Magazines and Newspapers Center will offer a workshop--"Navigating News Sites"--where you'll learn how to use the Web to access your daily news and maneuver around the information-packed sites of two major San Francisco newspapers.

News stories come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors—local, national, and international. Learn how to find news sites and browse through various subject categories, find advanced search screens, access archival information, and print and e-mail news articles from the Web sites of the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner. If time permits, we may also highlight some of our news databases.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, July 27, 2009 (Noon to 1 p.m.)

Friday, July 17, 2009

ABCs of Flatbed Digital Scanning Hands-on

Join the Magazines and Newspapers Center staff for an introduction to digital flatbed scanning.

We will scan photographs, periodicals, paper documents,and transparent media - and show you how to save images in your favorite formats. Come scan with us in the Fifth Floor Magazines and Newspapers Center microfilm room. The program begins at noon and will last one hour!

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, July 2o, 2009 (Noon - 1 p.m.)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In Praise of the Readers' Guide

If you are of a certain age, you may remember in the distant past a peculiar method for looking up magazine articles that might seem alien to today's young people. As I recall, a teacher would lead the class down to the school library and present the students with a seemingly impossible task: finding magazine articles about a certain person, event, or subject. Those of us who were paying attention at that moment would wonder how the teacher expected us to accomplish this task. Everyone knew that, though magazines would be likely to run stories about news events around the time that the event happened, for the most part, we'd have to flip through all of the years of all of the magazines to figure out when an article was written about a specific topic.

Then came the big revelation: the school librarian would show us a a set of big, thick books (they were bound in red at my library) that would tell us the names of magazines that had published articles about a certain topic in a given year, and in which issue and on what page we could find the article. A whole year! That meant that all we had to do was select a range of years, look up a person, event, or, really, anything else from each year, and write down the title, date, and page numbers of the magazine that we needed to find.

That series of books, as many of you may recall, was the Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature. Though it wasn't the first periodical index, nor has it ever been the most comprehensive, it seems to be the one most stuck in the memories of people who come to the Magazines and Newspapers reference desk looking for old magazine articles. I think that the reason for this is indicated in the title -- the "Readers' Guide" serves, unlike more subject-specific periodical indexes, a broad audience of readers rather than a small group of researchers. You won't find indexing for Living Reviews in Relativity in the Readers' Guide, but you will find Time. And while you won't find any references to the Annals of the Association of American Geographers here, you will certainly see citations for National Geographic.

In short, the Reader's Guide has long provided access to the stuff that 95% of readers want 95% of the time, which has made it a mainstay in public and school libraries for the last hundred years, which is why most of us above the age of, say, twenty, have probably come across it at least once in our lives.

The library also has the Reader's Guide Retrospective in our collection of databases, which means that users can electronically access indexing to popular American magazines from 1890 up to 1982. This is quite a boon to historical researchers, particularly because this is the only indexing available for many of these titles, which provides important contemporary perspectives on the events of the 20th century.

However, if you have a chance, stop by the Magazines and Newspapers Center and see if you can remember how to use the index that introduced so many young people to the principles of periodical research.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cat Fancy -- C'mon, you know you want to read it

Though it's hard to imagine a world without Lolcats and Cute Overload, there was once a time when cat enthusiasts had to get their eye candy in monthly doses. Cat Fancy, which bills itself as the "world's most widely read cat magazine," is published for those of us who acknowledge that cats are much more than just pets.
Unlike its more tongue-in-cheek contemporary peers, Cat Fancy is full of useful information for dedicated cat owners. Look here for tips on everything from cat discipline (apparently not an oxymoron) to treating allergies to the latest in nutritional knowledge. There is also extensive coverage of current happenings in the world of animal rescue, adoption, and every issue also features an extensive profile of one cat breed.

But let's be honest with ourselves here. Most of us opening an issue of Cat Fancy are not doing so looking for serious coverage of the world of our feline friends. We want pictures of cute kitties doing funny things, glamor shots of exotic breeds, and classified ads reminding us that there's a whole world of furry friends out there.

Cat Fancy delivers the goods. (There's a centerfold, for crying out loud!)

The Magazines and Newspapers Center urges you to not be shy about your love of cats. Come on in and have a look at Cat Fancy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scanning the Radio Airwaves

The digital TV transition is here to stay, but long before we received our daily dose of news stories by browsing Google News, watching CNN on TV, subscribing to blogs and news sites via RSS feeds, listening to breaking news from podcasts, or pulling up instant information from PDAs (personal digital assistants), we kept up with the news through the radio airwaves.

Radio news continues to fill the airwaves and you can now tap into Radio-Locator, labeled as "the most comprehensive radio station search engine on the internet." This online resource boasts links to over 10,000 radio stations and 2500 audio streams worldwide. You can look up radio stations by entering a city, radio call numbers, Internet streaming audio by music genre, and country. An advanced search offers even more intricate ways of locating a radio station such as by frequency signal.

And for radio aficionados, the Magazines & Newspapers Center offers some periodicals including Monitoring Times and Popular Communications to whet your appetite.

Monitoring Times - Geared for radio listeners, this magazine features news on radio communications, scanner monitoring with loggings, international radio, broadcast schedules. Also highlights new technologies such as "HD Radio."

Popular Communications
- Devoted to users and enthusiasts of VHF scanners, short wave receivers, radar detectors, satellite TV, and cellular phones.

So instead of surfing through hundreds of channels on your TV the next time you want to get your daily news fix, try tuning into a radio station with the Radio-Locator.

Friday, June 19, 2009

ABCs of Digital Scanning

On Monday, June 22, from noon to 1 p.m., the Magazines & Newspapers Center will present a workshop on digital scanning. This one-hour, hands-on demonstration workshop is designed to introduce patrons to high resolution microform and flatbed digital scanning.

The Magazines & Newspapers Center staff will assist and provide training with editing, e-mailing, and printing digital images. Come scan with us!

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Fifth Floor, Magazines & Newspapers Center, Microfilm Room
- Event Date and Time: Monday, June 22, 2009 (noon - 1 p.m.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

When Wikipedia Meets the Library

The Magazines and Newspapers Center will present a program on Wednesday, June 17, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.—When Wikipedia Meets the Library: A Case Study from the University of San Francisco:

In Spring 2009, twelve students enrolled in Professor David Silver’s Digital Media Production class were assigned the task of overhauling the Wikipedia page for the University of San Francisco (USF). Required to work individually and collaboratively, and with resources from the Web and from USF’s Gleeson Library, the students’ goal was three-fold: to learn how Wikipedia works, to learn more about the university they attend, and to share their research with the rest of the world. In this talk, Professor Silver shares what happened.

David Silver is an assistant professor of Media Studies and the director of the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies at the University of San Francisco. Together with Sarah Washburn, he is the co-director of The September Project.

- Address: 100 Larkin St. (at Grove)
- Location: Main Library, Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room B
- Event Date and Time: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 (6 to 7:30 p.m.)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tune in to the Digital Airwaves

It's coming to a TV station near you very soon, and there's no escaping it. You've probably heard people talking about it, seen it on the news, heard it on the radio, and read it in the newspaper. Millions of Americans have already prepared for this upcoming event. The groundbreaking Digital TV Transition will hit American television airwaves on June 12, 2009.

This new technology will unlock many channels on your TV sets, so to help you keep up with the programs, the Magazines & Newspapers Center would like to highlight one of its longstanding magazines--TV Guide.

You might have remembered going to your favorite supermarket, lining up in the grocery lines, and flipping through pages of the small squarebound magazine to pass the time. Well, times have changed, and the magazine has expanded its size and content. You're probably already familiar with getting weekly listings of your favorite cooking shows, soap operas, movies, documentaries, and TV series. Now, you can read up on previews of upcoming TV series, get the latest scoops from in-depth interviews with your favorite TV and movie stars, explore highlights from shows you may never even heard of, and more.

If you have a home satellite dish, and TV Guide just doesn't cut it, then reach over for Satellite Orbit, one of the most comprehensive if not definitive television guides for over a hundred different digital channels! This magazine covers a month's worth of TV listings and delineates them according to their respective time zones. Other special features include an alphabetical listing of movies with synopses and ratings, categorized sports listings, show listings organized by genre, and highlights of noteworthy shows

With only a few days remaining till this monumental digital transition, feel free to drop by the Magazines & Newspapers Center so you can use these magazines to help plan out your future television viewing schedule.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Job Hunting and Career Exploration

With the current economic crisis looming overhead, manifested in part by job layoffs and hiring freezes, it might be discouraging looking for employment during these bleak times. However, a San Francisco Chronicle article highlighted how libraries can assist you during this recession.

The Magazines & Newspaper Center, for instance, carries selected job-related periodicals that might help you locate employment opportunities, enhance your job-seeking skills, or give you ideas for new career opportunities:

California Job Journal - A weekly publication covering career and employment information for over 25 years, this newspaper contains job listings in northern California, a career calendar, brief articles on selected job markets, and more.

Career Opportunities News
- Published six times a year, this newsletter features career trends in the workplace, minority issues and resources, career news of special interest to women, reviews of new books on career guidance, reports on the latest salary information, and more.

Federal Jobs Digest - A bi-weekly newspaper featuring job recruitment opportunities. Each issue contains over 5000 current opening with the federal government in the United States and overseas in all occupations and career levels.

Jobs Available - A bi-weekly listing of public sector employment opportunities in California. Sample department include building inspection, city administration, finance and accounting, parks and recreation, and more.

For additional resources, try the Occupational Outlook Handbook to explore new careers and trends. Last but not least, you can also check the Jobs and Careers Center for additional tips on using the Internet for searching jobs and obtaining a list of periodic classes offered at the library.

As an added bonus, the San Francisco Public Library now offers an open computer lab for job seekers on Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the 5th Floor in the Main Library Training Center. So come let the library help you find your next job or career.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Go Eco with the Ecocard

Are you going green yet? It wasn't too long ago in our April posting when we highlighted titles from our Magazines & Newspapers Center collection in honor of Earth Day. In that same month, we also launched our Green Stacks program. Since then, the library has been showcasing a series of programs and exhibits ranging from community gardens and photographs of the urban wilderness to green cleaning products and organic foods, many of which were planned in part by staff in our Wallace Stegner Environmental Center. Check our Green Stacks Events page for an ongoing list of programs and special events.

Next, prepare for the launching of a pilot project in producing our very first San Francisco Public Library ecocard. For a limited time, you can exchange your current plastic library card for a more eco-friendly one manufactured from a renewable and biodegradable resource. This card is just one of many elements in the Library's new Green Stacks program, dedicated to helping San Francisco go green with the assistance of SF Environment and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.