Thursday, February 6, 2020

Beyond Books --- Day 8/304

Walk: Marin Driving Day, Trader Joe's
Distance: 2 miles

Rose Main Reading Room at Main New York Library

So a friend asked Ciwt how the San Francisco Main Library compared with New York City's Main Branch.  The latter is stunningly beautiful in classic fashion, the second most visited tourist attraction in New York and Legendary.  In other words it is in a league of its own or with the most beautiful libraries anywhere.

Bridges and Light are the themes of the 1996 San Francisco Main Library. With bridges of stairs linking stacks of one type of knowledge to stacks of other types and the eye of its occulus (en)lightens the whole building.
But the San Francisco Public Library is becoming legendary in its own ways. The Library Journal awarded it Library of the Year in 2018 with the following statement: 

A MODEL AND INSPIRATION for public libraries worldwide, the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)—with its committed staff, transformational leadership, amazing array of programs, partnerships, popularity, and community connections—is the 2018 Gale/LJ Library of the Year. ­SFPL’s aggressive yet compassionate approach and the resulting services, outreach, alliances, and innovation offer new directions public libraries everywhere can apply to their services.*

Four years ago the San Francisco Public Library set out to be the premiere urban library in the country, committed to being responsive to the full range of needs of the community.  To that end they have innovated or amped up an array of vital programs.  Just to name a few these include: Bridge at Main, an adult literacy and learning center; the Deaf Services Center; the Library for the Blind; Library on Wheels for the homebound; one-on-one tutoring for children in need of special help; Pop-Up Car Village (SFPL acts as host).  There are several art galleries, and special exhibitions and events, the list of innovations goes on an on.  They have taken many risks with some of their unique - and working! - programs in order to expand what libraries do.  The impact has been broad and deep.

To Ciwt though, all libraries - beautiful or ordinary, urban or rural - are always necessary and important beacons of growth, help, hope, inspiration, enlightenment and more in the lives of their community. And she's sure the New York and San Francisco Main Librarians would be the first to agree.

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