San Francisco Libraries, public and non

I’m heading home from San Francisco tomorrow. Here is a short list of the libraries I saw while I was here. Since this was a vacation in the true sense of the word, I was a little more lax in my library visiting than usual, but I did see some beauts. You may have read about my visit to the San Franscico Public library’s downtown branch which is a lovely building with some great art, but regrettably FULL of books. Full like there’s no more room. This isn’t news, but it’s sad nonetheless. Here are the other libraries I went to:

  • The Western Addition Branch. When I hear that name out loud I always think Western Edition but that’s just me being weird. This is a tiny branch in a busy neighborhood with people from a lot of different backgrounds. The library is full of books in Russian and Japanese and other languages that I can’t read at all. For a tiny space, they manage to do a lot with it, there’s a large chidlren’s area, a YA section, a place for adult new readers and a few, very few, public access computers. I sat and read here for an hour while I was waiting for a friend and it was a nice calm place in the middle of a busy city. My photos of the Western Addition Branch are here.
  • The Helen Crocker Russell Horticultural Library, which is part of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Another incredible oasis. My friend Jane works there and took me on a tour of the grounds and I noodled around in the stacks some. The head librarian there (who just won an award) indexes the articles in a lot of the teeny periodicals they receive, making their catalog a very rich resource. My photos of the Helen Crocker Russell Horticultural Library are here but more interesting are my photos of the San Francisco Botanical Garden including a nesting hbummingbird and some random quail walking around.
  • I had a rendezvous with friends at the Prelinger Library but didn’t do as much of a tour as I did last time. I’m still in awe of the sheer interestingness of their project as well as the general grace and charm of the Prelingers in person. Every librarian should make this collection a “must see” if you’re in the Bay Area. In the meantime, you can always read the Prelinger Library blog.