Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Staff recommended reading: Alias Grace

Margaret Atwood is at the top of her form, superb indeed, as wordsmith, story designer, social critic, and humanitarian in her re-inhabitation of the legendary Canadian folk case of Grace Marks, 19th century indentured immigrant housemaid tried and convicted for abetting the murder of her abusive male employer and his housekeeper/lover. Bringing the feminism, empathy, class consciousness, and artistry of A Handmaid's Tale to this very different material, spinning it from multiple viewpoints, Atwood adroitly manages to leave Marks' guilt or innocence ambiguous while vividly illuminating class and gender provocations which could have righteously driven her to participate in the crime. The period recreation is impeccable, relevant, and undistracting – not precious at all. You just can't get better than Margaret Atwood at her best.

See if Mission Branch's copies of Alias Grace are available.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Print is not dead - libraries booming!

Well, it's no surprise to us that there are a lot of people using the Mission Branch and other San Francisco Public Library branches, but apparently it was to Carl Nolte, writer of the SF Chronicle column "Native Son." He's written a nice article about how well used the public library is, and it seems to be inspired by his visit to the Mission Branch...

Print is not dead - libraries booming

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Question of the week: "Can I donate books to the library?"

The Mission Branch Library receives many generous materials donations such as books, DVDs, CDs, and more. Some of these items we're able to add to our collection here at the Mission Branch (and we have an area where we display some of the book donations on our Staff Picks table), and we're very grateful to those of you who think of us when donating such items. The items we can't use in the branch get sent on to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, a "nonprofit organization that advocates, fundraises, and provides critical support for the San Francisco Public Library" ( The Friends organization has a couple locations where they sell the donated items that are forwarded to them from the branches as well as those that are donated directly to them: Book Bay Main at the Main library, and Book Bay Fort Mason. Additionally the Friends organization raises money through book sales, including their bimonthly Steps Sales at the Larkin Street entrance of the Main Library on the first and third Wednesday of every month (April through October), and the annual Big Book Sale which occurs every fall and is the largest book sale on the West Coast.

We definitely encourage you to drop items off at the Mission branch if you have a single box or stack of books. If you have multiple boxes there is a Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Donation Center nearby at 438 Treat Avenue (between 17th and 18th Streets). Also, you can take donations directly to their store locations at Book Bay Main and Book Bay Fort Mason. Something to keep in mind is that we here at the Mission Branch as well as the Friends organization cannot use books that are damp, moldy or otherwise badly damaged; sets of encyclopedias like World Book, Britannica, etc.; legal statutes and casebooks; or magazines of any sort. Those items you can take to Goodwill or Salvation Army, except maybe for the books that are damp, moldy or otherwise badly damaged -- not sure if they want those.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Staff Picks Table

If you've been in the branch in the last few months, perhaps you've noticed that we now have a new Staff Picks table. This table was donated to us by a patron who wanted to see, in one place, books we've read and recommend others to read. We couldn't have been happier about this generous gift. Soon we'll be including notecards on the table with our reviews of the books. But until then, you can always check this blog, on which we post staff recommended reading reviews. And if you're in the branch, have a look at the titles on the table, which is located next to the New Books section on the far west wall of the 2nd floor.