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Welcome our new Communications Manager, Jimmy!

This past June, Jimmy de Guzman joined Mechanics’ Institute as our Communications Manager. He hopes to lend his experience and expertise towards helping redefine the Institute’s role as a locus and focus of knowledge building and skill development in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond. 

We asked Jimmy a few questions to help introduce him to the MI community:

What interests of yours brought you to MI? A favorite book or genre to read, favorite movies, types of programs?

I’ve spent 18 years in the Bay Area as a Marketing Communications, Branding, and Design professional. I enjoy Science Fiction and Fantasy as a genre. I love really good animation or smart scripts.

What will you be doing? How do you hope your work will help MI?

As Communications Manager, I’ll work with all areas of the Institute with their communications needs, including the website, social media, and weekly and quarterly newsletters. I hope to improve the Institute’s exposure and the public’s general knowledge of Mechanics’ Institute. 

What is the most interesting thing you’ve discovered/learned/enjoyed about MI in this short time?

The Membership, Staff, and the Board of Directors are passionate about the Institute.

What do you envision for the future here?

I hope to lend my experience and expertise towards helping redefine Mechanics’ Institute’s role as a locus and focus of knowledge building and skill development in San Francisco, the Bay Area, and beyond. How that manifests is both the challenge and what excites me about my role.

What do you enjoy outside of work?

I’m an art and performance art nerd, so I enjoy theater, dance performances, or going to museums. I have been known to grace a Karaoke stage occasionally, but not too recently. 

Tell us something interesting/fun you’ve done recently?

About 2 years ago, I designed a logo and illustration for the World Economic Forum for their Zero Emissions Urban Fleets (ZEUF) initiative. An initiative to expedite the electrification of urban fleets by 2030.

Final Fun Fact: Jimmy lived in Tokyo for ten years, but his love of sushi, karaoke, and musical theater started well before that time.

You can find Jimmy in suite 504, or roaming the library and 4th fl. finding inspiration from the Mechanics' Institute building, people, and environment.

Posted on Sep. 20, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

Mechanics’ Institute Code of Conduct

Mechanics’ Institute has recently updated its Code of Conduct to ensure a welcoming and enjoyable visitor experience. Though many of the policies have existed for some time, we’ve updated and expanded upon several points to better serve the needs of our members. The full Code of Conduct can be found on our general policies page, but we are also sharing them here for ease of reading: 

Mechanics’ Institute’s mission is to create opportunities for people to enhance their lives. We value the rich diversity of our community and have adopted the following rules of conduct to provide for members who wish to use the Institute’s services and facilities, whether in person or online, without unnecessary and inappropriate interruptions or disturbances, to promote service of members’ interests by the Institute’s staff, to ensure the safety of members and staff, and to maintain the security of Mechanics’ Institute property.


Disruptive Behavior or Language

●       Threatening, abusive, derogatory, aggressive, or harassing language or behavior is not allowed. 

●       Speaking in loud voices or engaging in prolonged conversation that disturbs other users in non-designated areas is prohibited.

●       Members must be fully clothed, including wearing footwear, at all times.

●       Sleeping is prohibited.


Mechanics’ Institute Property

●       Intentional damage, misuse, or theft of Mechanics’ Institute’s property, materials, and equipment is prohibited and may be punishable by law. 

●       Property of the Mechanics’ Institute, including equipment and library materials, must be used in the building only unless checked out per Institute policy.

●       Using furniture or other Institute property for purposes other than the intended use is prohibited. This includes sleeping on desks, propping feet on the tables, or using chairs as a step stool.


Personal Property

●        Personal items should remain with the owner and not be left unattended. Personal items are not the responsibility of the Mechanics’ staff.

●       Personal items such as backpacks, shopping bags, and electronic device cables may not be placed in a way that obstructs aisles, stairs, or exits.

●       Objects larger than a carry-on bag (approximately 14” H x 8” W x 24” L), such as luggage, large backpacks, or oversized duffel bags, may not be brought into the building without prior permission from building management.


 Library, Chess Room

●       Eating and drinking anything other than water in a resealable container is prohibited in the library or chess room except during designated special programs and events.

●       Use of cellphones, laptops, tablets, or other electronic devices to engage in phone conversations or virtual meetings is prohibited in the library and in the chess room.

●       Headphones must be used to watch videos or to listen to audio in the library and the chess room.

●       Headphones and other devices are prohibited during chess tournaments.



●       Children under the age of twelve years should not be left unattended.

●       The presence of animals other than certified service animals is prohibited.

●       Persons under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs are not allowed in the building.

●       Smoking is prohibited inside the building or within 15 feet of the lobby entrance.

●       Photographing, filming, or audio/video recording by members or guests on Institute property is prohibited without prior written approval from the CEO or Director of Operations.

●       Unreasonable use of restrooms, including laundering and bathing, is not allowed.

●       Soliciting is not permitted in the building.

●       Full-size bicycles or other similarly sized modes of transportation are not allowed in the building. Skateboards, folding bicycles, collapsible scooters, roller skates, or other smaller devices may be carried into the building but should not be rolled. These devices must remain folded and at the side of the owner at all times.

●       Personal belongings should not be left unattended in the common areas.



●       Members and guests must leave the premises at the direction of a staff member.

●       Members experiencing bouts of cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or other similar symptoms related to the possible spreading of germs may be asked to wear a mask during visits.


Violations of the rules of conduct may result in suspension and possible loss of membership privileges. Unlawful activities will be subject to official disposition by law enforcement agencies.

Please be courteous and respectful when visiting Mechanics’ Institute. We strive to be a welcoming and collaborative space for all. By adhering to these policies, we hope you and others can enjoy your time in our building.


Thank you,

Mechanics’ Institute


Posted on Aug. 9, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

In Celebration of the Women’s World Cup

Beginning July 20th and running for one month, the Women’s World Cup is taking place in Australia and New Zealand and features 32 countries playing through 64 games vying to reach the final on August 20th, 2023 in Sydney. Held every four years, the event honors the best international women’s soccer teams in their respective regions of the world. The United States women are the two-time defending champions, having prevailed in France (2019) and in Canada (2015). They are favored to win once again, but will face mighty competition from strong teams out of England, France, Germany, and Brazil - plus many other teams fighting for the ultimate prize.

The tournament expanded from 16 countries in 2011, to 24 countries in 2015 and 2019, and further to the 32 representatives at this 2023 event. This expansion shows the growing interest and reach that women’s sports have in the world. Eight nations made their debuts over the first week, including teams from Morocco, the Philippines, Haiti, Panama, and Zambia (among other nations) that until recently had not been known for their soccer prowess.Though these teams face an uphill battle to get out of the first stage of the tournament, their participation will inspire future generations of players to keep striving for their dreams.

Mechanics' Institute has several soccer related movies and books to get you up and kicking for this worldwide event. 

Bend it like Beckham (2003): Two young women defy their families, navigate personal relationships, and aim for careers in professional soccer. 

Beyond bend it like Beckham: the global phenomenon of women's soccer / Timothy F. Grainey; foreword by Brittany Timko: Though this book is over 10 years old, this was one of the first in-depth global analyses of women’s soccer.

Gracie (2007): The only daughter of a soccer loving family fights to take her brother’s place on the varsity soccer team after his passing.

Rise & shine: the Jay DeMerit story (2012): Documentary about the rise of US soccer player Jay Demerit from obscurity in the lower levels of English soccer to a place on the 2010 US Men’s World Cup team.

One goal: a coach, a team, and the game that brought a divided town together: This book tells the inspiring story of a small, racially divided town and the Somali refugees that helped unite the community in their quest for a state championship.

Posted on Jul. 31, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

MI's magazine sale is back!

After a break of a few strange years, the Institute’s annual magazine sale is back! Come visit the sales nook on the 2nd floor of the library to buy bundles of your favorite titles. You can find older issues of art magazines, cooking, history, and even the beautiful Country Life! We’ll be adding new titles and bundles of magazines throughout the summer and then as more become available. While you are in our sales nook, check out our other items for sale like books, DVDs, postcards, Mechanics’ Institute book bags, and the title Four books, 300 dollars and a dream : an illustrated history chronicling our past.

Posted on Jul. 3, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

Introducing our new Library Manager

The library is happy to announce librarian Myles Cooper as our new Library Manager! Myles has been with Mechanics’ Institute for 8 years, first as an on-call Library Assistant and progressing into teaching classes and overseeing various book groups, becoming an essential part of the programming team. Myles has a background in teaching, loves providing adult education services, and is eager to focus more on the library, management, and operations. In addition, Myles will be overseeing our archives to ensure the continued legacy of Mechanics’ Institute history, so if you have any questions about our archives or special collections, don’t hesitate to reach out

Myles will be working with the Senior Director in the library and with the library staff directly on projects to enhance and invigorate our library space and services. When not immersed in history in the basement archives, you can generally find Myles on the 2nd floor of the library. 

Congratulations Myles!


Posted on Jun. 1, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

Mechanics' Institute Bids Farewell...

After close to 16 years, Taryn Edwards - librarian, writer’s advocate, history nerd, and guardian of Mechanics’ Institute’s past - will be leaving the Institute as of Friday, May 5th. Taryn joined the Institute in 2007 during a lull in activity in the library, and she helped bring in a new vibrancy that included updated programming, member initiatives, networking with like-minded organizations, and many celebrations! Taryn helped build and foster the Institute’ writers’ programs, running our monthly Writers’ Lunch and facilitating classes and lectures on the craft of writing. She also organized large events in the spirit of our historical industrial fairs such as Book’toberfest, Our Story, and Wine, Women and Start-ups (honoring local beer and publishing, local history, and local entrepreneurship respectively). One of her largest events was a costumed celebration honoring Emperor Norton’s 200th birthday. Proud of Mechanics’ Institute’s place as one of the oldest cultural institutions in the region, Taryn connected the Institute with San Francisco’s other heritage groups as an organizer of the annual History Days Festival at the Old Mint at 5th and Mission. She also was instrumental in getting the Institute listed on the San Francisco Legacy Business Registry.

Taryn is changing course and will be using her research and writing skills in a new role on the other side of the Bay. Her understanding of the rich history of Mechanics’ Institute and her ability to connect it to current programming will be missed. Everyone at Mechanics’ Institute wishes  Taryn success and appreciates everything she has done for the Institute. She promises to stay in touch, but if you’d like to say goodbye in person, please come by before she leaves to bid adieu.

From Taryn:

I have met my dearest friends at MI - staff and members - and had truly the best of times over the past 15 years. I am fiercely proud to say that I am a librarian for the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco. It is truly a society like no other.
Be Just And Fear Not.

Posted on May. 5, 2023 by Bobbie Monzon

Building Upgrades

We’ve had a busy 2016 at the Mechanics’ Institute, including several building projects that helped freshen up our appearance. Some of these include finishing up our 18-month façade restoration; painting, cleaning up, and building out the retail space for the DaDa Art Gallery and Bar; and replacing the glass, painting the walls, and refinishing the wood railing on our signature main lobby stairwell.

We expect to continue beautifying and upgrading our building in 2017. The following projects are scheduled for the New Year:

  • A wiring upgrade throughout the Mechanics’ Institute will increase our network and internet speeds for members and staff.
  • We will be upgrading all lighting to more energy-efficient LED.
  • Building-wide plumbing fixture replacement will increase our water conservation efforts and improve our facilities.

In addition to these upgrades, we have several projects planned to help us improve and maintain our beautiful, historic building. If you would like to donate to our continued building improvement efforts, please visit

Posted on Dec. 23, 2016 by Bobbie Monzon

Restoration Honoring our Gold (Rush) Past

Thanks to the generosity of the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, this summer the Mechanics’ Institute completed our year and a half long façade restoration project by applying gold leaf gilding to our name above the second floor windows and to the rosette medallions over the entranceway. Our name sparkles against the bright white exterior, and the beautiful rosettes welcome members and guests to the building. These decorative highlights were part of our building’s original exterior design and add a special touch of class to our façade.

We also added a striking new banner and matching flag that catch the eye and help to bring attention to our building. These banners and those of our storefront tenants coordinate to contrast beautifully with our updated color scheme. We hope you like the new look.

Without the support of organizations like the Victorian Alliance of SF and contributions from members and friends, the Mechanics’ Institute would not have the foundation, building structure, and amazing programs, staff, and services we have today. Please consider contributing to future beautification and restoration projects for our building. It is something we are proud of and hope to maintain well into the future.

Posted on Nov. 28, 2016 by Bobbie Monzon

June 2014: World Cup and Soccer Books

Beginning June 12th, and running through the finals on July 13th, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will captivate and unite soccer fans throughout the world. Thirty-two countries will battle it out for the chance to lift the trophy in the sweltering heat of the Amazon. The United States has been grouped with three-time winner Germany, Portugal, and Ghana in what is being referred to as “the Group of Death”, but their never-say-die attitude has won them countless fans and support. The U.S. plays their games (within their group) on Monday June 16th, Sunday June 22nd, and Thursday June 26th. You can see the full FIFA World Cup schedule here.

Mechanics' Institute Library has several World Cup and soccer related titles to help spur your interest in this quadrennial event of the most popular sport in the world.

Fútbol action starts this month. See you on the pitch!

Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer  by George Vecsey (796.334 V413)

By good fortune, New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey has been able to report on eight World Cup tournaments beginning with the 1982 games in Spain through the last event in South Africa. This book is a culmination of those writings and is part memoir, travelogue, and social analysis. He condenses the tournaments into the key highlights and revisits the most infamous incidents to have taken place during the games including Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal and Zidane’s red card head butt. He’s clearly a fan and isn’t afraid to outline the corruption within FIFA that has marred the tournament, but these scandals have not been able to tarnish the love and enthusiasm that brings fans together for this celebration of the beautiful game.

Chasing the Game: America and the Quest for the World Cup  by Filip Bondy (796.334 B711)

Covering the 2010 U.S. World Cup team in the lead up to that year’s tournament in South Africa, New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy traces the evolution of the sport in America. He recounts highlights from past U.S. World Cup participation including the improbable 1950 victory over England to the 2002 team’s over-achieving to reach the quarterfinals, and also describes the disappointment of the 2006 team as they barely managed 4 shots on goal. He gives an insider view into some of the personalities of that 2010 team that helps give perspective and insight into the mind of the American player and fan.

A History of the World Cup: 1930-2006  by Clemente Angelo Lisi (796.334 L76)

As the title describes, this book gives the full history of the World Cup via game summaries, statistics, and photos from each of the tournaments beginning with the inaugural games won by Uruguay in 1930 through the 2006 tournament won by Italy. Profiles of some of the more famous and controversial figures of the sport are featured including Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and Pelé. Of special note is the inclusion of the U.S. teams over the last few tournaments and their contribution to the event.

The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup  edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey (796.334 T443)

Published in the lead up to the 2006 games in Germany, The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup includes the requisite history of the tournament, the complete 2006 match schedule, and profiles of each participating nation and their players. What stands out about this book are the essays written by thirty-two writers and journalists regarding the thirty-two nations that qualified for the tournament. Their perspective provides a fresh view of soccer from all ends of the globe.

Why Soccer Matters  by Pelé with Brian Winter (796.334 P381w)

It’s not his first book, but Why Soccer Matters by one of the world’s most well known soccer players is timed perfectly with the 2014 tournament in his home country. Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, has come full circle with his fame and popularity and shares his story of rising up the ranks in Brazil, winning three World Cups for the country, and his final playing days as a member of the New York Cosmos. He describes “Pelé” as the persona he allowed the public to see that protected him against celebrity and shares his observations on how the sport has changed since his first World Cup in Sweden at the age of 17.

Here's a few additional books about the World cup and soccer that can be found in our collection:

Distant Corners: American soccer’s history of missed opportunities and lost causes
Soccer in a football world 
Brazil’s Dance with the Devil: The World Cup, the Olympics, and the Fight for Democracy
How soccer explains the world: an unlikely theory of globalization
Home and away: one writer’s inspiring experience at the Homeless World Cup
Outcasts united: an American town, a refugee team, and one woman’s quest to make a difference
The global game: writers on soccer
Soccer in sun and shadow
Soccernomics: why England loses, why Germany and Brazil win, and why the U.S., Japan, Australia, Turkey and even India are destined to become the kings of the world’s most popular sport

Posted on Jun. 16, 2014 by Bobbie Monzon

March 2014: Introducing our Newest Magazines

Every year, we have what we call March Magazine Madness which means - out with the old and in with the new. We begin with a spring cleaning: putting our magazine titles back in order, sending out journals to get bound with covers, and selling off the oldest editions in the collection. This year is no different and we are happy to offer up old copies of popular titles for our members to purchase. Our annual magazine sale runs through the end of March and gives our members an opportunity to get some classic issues of Bon Appétit, Rolling Stone, Daedalus, and more.

Not only are we spring cleaning but we are also introducing the new magazines we’ve added to the collection. Based on member suggestions and staff recommendations, we now subscribe to a mix of new titles that include international newspapers and journals, health related subjects, writing, literature, and other popular topics.

Come to the 3rd floor and take part in our March Madness. Buy a bundle of old magazines and then check out the new titles available in our magazine department. You can also browse our magazine titles online at:

Here’s a small sampling of the new titles we’ve added:

The Guardian Weekly

The latest edition to our newspaper collection has an international flair; the Guardian Weekly compiles articles from four of the world’s top newspapers – the Guardian (UK), Le Monde (Paris), the Washington Post (USA), and the Observer (UK). Originally founded after WWI to keep the US informed of world events, the Guardian Weekly provides a round-up of comprehensive news, features, commentaries, and analysis of world events, politics, business, and culture. You can find the latest issue of the Guardian Weekly hanging on the newspaper rack on the 3rd floor.

Glimmer Train Stories

Looking to get your story published? Glimmer Train Stories is a tri-annual short story journal that publishes reader submissions, offers writing contests, and offers support for emerging writers and those interested in the medium. Published by a team of two sisters, Glimmer Train Stories is advertiser free, promoting the work of their writers and presenting eclectic mix of literary stories and fiction.

MORE: For Women of Style & Substance

Our newest women’s magazine, MORE: For Women of Style & Substance, caters to a mature audience and celebrates smart and sophisticated interests in beauty, travel, and reinvention. The magazine claims to skip the frilly and mundane pieces usually found in other women’s journals and puts the MORE filter into their articles relating to fashion, career, health, and current events. The magazine offers a positive outlook on aging and addresses issues women face as they reach new perspectives in life.


An international lifestyle, travel, and business magazine, Monocle addresses a “mobile global audience” and also operates a website, online radio station, and has storefronts and cafes in several major cities. Stylish and fresh with a colorful cover that outlines their core A-E topics (Affairs, Business, Culture, Design, and Edits), Monocle is a welcome addition to our collection of lifestyle and culture magazines.

Don’t miss these additional titles:

Diabetic Living

Shop Smart: Consumer Reports

Life Extension

The American Interest

The Baffler


Posted on Mar. 18, 2014 by Bobbie Monzon