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.)