Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Mission Branch, in the News!

You may remember that we posted about our Teaching Garden back in October (when we first unveiled it to the public). But now someone at the San Francisco Chronicle has taken notice. Check out the article...

Children's garden takes root at S.F. library

Friday, December 18, 2009

Staff recommended reading: A Land So Strange

I highly recommend the book A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca, the Extraordinary Tale of a Shipwrecked Spaniard who Walked Across America in the Sixteenth Century by Andrés Reséndez (2007, Basic Books, New York). It is an easy-to-read and fascinating nonfiction book about the strangely-named Spaniard Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca who, along with three other men, was one of the only survivors of a party of 300 colonists that landed near Tampa Bay, Florida, on April 15, 1528, and ended up making a 1500-mile trek across North America eventually arriving in Mexico City. It is a tale not only of survival, but of exploration, and also of transformation, as Cabeza de Vaca went from being a slave of various Native American tribes to a trader, allowing him to travel freely among the tribes, to eventually being regarded as a faith healer with a large following of Native Americans who called Cabeza de Vaca and his compatriots "children of the sun." Cabeza de Vaca published a report of his experiences in 1542 and called it La Relacion (The Report), later known as Naufragios (Shipwrecks). It has been reprinted many times under different titles and in many different languages. The San Francisco Public Libary has a few of these in the original Spanish, and translated into English. The following are available at the Mission Branch...

The shipwrecked men (2007, Penguin Books, New York) by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca ; translated by Fanny Badelier ; translation revised by Harold Augenbraum.

Naufragios (2000, Ediciones SM, Madrid) por Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca ; prólogo de Marcos Giralt Torrente.

Naufragios y comentarios (1985, Espasa-Calpe, Madrid) por Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca.

Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the unknown interior of America (1983, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press) by Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca ; translated and annotated by Cyclone Covey ; with a new epilogue by William T. Pilkington.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teen Winter Reading Contest!

What are you doing over winter break?
Why not sign up for the
Teen Winter Reading Contest?

Here's how it works:

* Beginning Saturday, December 12th, visit the Mission Branch and pick up a reading log.
* Fill out 1 reading log for every 5 hours that you read.
* Return the logs to Mission Branch by Friday, January 23rd, 2010.
* For every 5 hours you read, your name will be automatically entered into a raffle for cool prizes! The more you read, the more chances you have to win!

You must be between the ages of 12 and 18 and have a San Francisco Public Library card to enter. Participation is free and prizes are funded by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

Questions? Contact Nicole at 355.5738 or

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Vampire Holiday Card Parties!

WritersCorps & SF Public Library Present:

Vamipre Holiday Card Parties!
Make your own vampire holiday cards using collage materials and text from your favorite vampire novels!
Ages 12-22
Bring your friends! Drug store cards are nice, but vampire holiday cards are FOREVER...
Monday 12/21 6pm * Wednesday 12/23 2pm
Monday 12/28 6pm * Wednesday 12/30 2pm

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Henna for Teens! Saturday, November 14

Henna body art or mendhi, is an ancient art. This natural substance has been used to adorn young women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the Eastern Mediterranean. In this workshop, you'll be able to choose a design for a free, safe, temporary tattoo, and learn how to apply it with henna! Henna artist, Charitie Bolling, will show you how. Program limited to 20 teens. For ages 12-18. For participants under 18 , a signed parent/guardian permission form must be returned prior to the workshop. Join us!

To reserve your space and/or request a form, contact Nicole at 415.355.5738 or

Saturday, November 14, from 4-5 p.m.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day of the Dead/El Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a celebration that melds European Catholicism with Aztec and other Mesoamerican traditions, honoring ancestors and the recently departed. It combines Christianity's All Souls Day (Nov. 2) and All Saints Day (Nov. 1) with the annual Aztec celebration of the goddess Mictecacihuatl, as well as other indigenous peoples' festivals and traditions that honor the dead and help their spirits pass safely into the next world.

At Mission Branch we will be honoring El Día de los Muertos in a couple ways. The first is that we will be erecting an altar. The spirits of the deceased are thought to pay a visit to their families during Día de los Muertos, and altars are often prepared for those spirits. An altar usually consists of offerings such as mementos, photos, and favorite foods of ancestors, family members, friends and even favorite celebrities or honored citizens who have passed away. Patrons are welcome to add something to our altar here at Mission Library. The display will be on the 2nd floor near the Reference Desk. Additionally, the Mission Branch children's department will host a workshop where children of all ages can learn how to build their own Day of the Dead altar. This program will take place Friday, October 30, from 3-5pm.

And, of course, you won't want to miss the annual Day of the Dead procession here in the Mission District. In San Francisco, Day of the Dead has been celebrated since the early 70s with art, music, performances and a walking procession. Many galleries, gift stores and cafes have altars, art exhibits and performances. People are encouraged to bring photos, food, candles and souvenirs that remind them of the people they're honoring. These items can be placed on community altars throughout the procession. This event takes place on Monday, Nov. 2nd, at 7pm, beginning at 24th and Bryant Streets, and ends at a "Festival of the Altars" in Garfield Park, which is at 26th and Harrison Streets. This event is organized by Rescue Culture Collective. Please visit for event details and more history.


Local event links:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hispanic Heritage Month at the Mission Branch

Every year from September 15 to October 15, the U.S. celebrates its Hispanic heritage, focusing on the culture and traditions of Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, Spain, and South America. On Saturday, Oct 3rd, the Mission Branch Library offered dance, poetry, and music celebrating a variety of traditions from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Argentina. Participating in the program were De Colores [pictured] -- demonstrating Mexican traditional dances, Maria Medina (performing poetry and percussion), Jurek Mazur (of the Academia de Tango Argentino, presenting the history of Argentine Tango), and Xiuhcoatl Danza Azteca.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ghost Hunting for Teens! Tuesday, October 27th

Ever wonder if ghosts are real? If they are, how can you tell a real ghost from a fake? Is it true that teens tend to experience poltergeists more than other age groups? A real ghost hunter from the SF Ghost Society , Tommy Netzband, will talk about his experiences investigating ghosts and hauntings. He will also show you how to use ghost hunting tools and share some ghostly images and sounds he has caught on DVD. Get the info., then you decide what to believe!

Questions? Contact Nicole, Teen Librarian, at (415) 355.5738 or

Tuesday, October 27, from 6-8 p.m.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Mission Branch Teaching Garden

On Friday, October 16, from 3:00 to 4:00pm, students in the second and fifth grades of Marshall Elementary School will begin planting the first seeds and seedlings in the new Mission Branch Teaching Garden! A partnership between the Mission Branch library's children's room, Janet Moyer Landscaping, Garden for the Environment, and the Mission Greenbelt Project, the teaching garden will be a resource offering the Mission Branch's community the opportunity to learn about growing food sustainably in an urban environment. Garden for the Environment will be offering workshops in the garden on planning, maintaining, and harvesting food crops. Additionaly, the teaching garden will provide local schools with a resource for hands-on science lessons and other potential partnerships with programs such as Eat Ur Veggies at Mission High School. Lia Hillman, Interim Children’s Room Manager of the Mission Branch Library, organized the partnership and envisions intergenerational programs with seniors and/or teens working with children. Program offerings could include harvest celebrations, cooking and nutrition classes, and how to grow food in San Francisco.

The Mission Branch Teaching Garden is a response to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s directive to grow food on the City’s unused land. The teaching garden also fulfills the San Francisco Public Library’s desire to help the City go green, which it is doing through its Green Stacks program. In partnership with SF Environment and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Green Stacks empowers all library users to live a more eco-friendly life. Learn more about the Green Stacks program here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Welcome to the new Mission Branch blog!

The Mission Branch blog is back!! And we have a new look, and a new outlook, which is that we'll be dedicated to bringing you timely and consistent news and information about the Mission Branch and the whole San Francisco Public Library. Additionally, our new blog will be bilingual (English and Spanish). We hope you will keep track of us here, and feel free to give us feedback at any time.