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Winter is coming.

Well, a little.

Here in San Francisco we don't get the dramatic winters of up north or back east, but around this time of year I start wearing my heavy jacket, reaching for my wool socks, and putting on a hat before I walk home at night. In the publishing world, holiday-themed books start showing up around this time of year – including all those fun holiday mystery novels. In the spirit of the season, this month at the Mechanics' Institute we're featuring boo...

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Although most people probably don’t think of comics as a particularly experimental art form, I believe that it is one of the best mediums for the unusual, the surreal, the existential, or the absurd. Comics' unique combination of visuals and text lends itself well for a wide range of stylistic and storytelling possibilities, and has much more to offer than superheroes or pugnacious lasagna-loving-cats. There's a whole world out there of comic artists/authors trying new things and pushing the...

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The Mechanics' Institute Library has just received a donation of the be-all-and-end-all of English dictionaries, the Oxford English Dictionary. Yes, we already had a copy, as virtually every library does. But this isn’t just any copy – it’s the Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd Edition), which reduces the entire 20 volume set into just a single volume. This particular volume dates back to 1996.




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Ryan Gattis Safe
Tom Stern My vanishing twin

Historical Fiction
Barbara Taylor Bradford Secrets of Cavendon

Mystery, Suspense, Espionage & Intrigue
Dave Butler...

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Julián López A beautiful young woman
Michèle Roberts The Walworth beauty
Joan Silber Improvement
Fred Strydom The inside-out man
Leo Tolstoy...

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The Coppola film-making family is prolific and quite significant. Our current 2nd Floor DVD and Blu-ray selections feature films that were either produced, directed, written, or acted by a member of the family. Below are staff recommendations from the display.

Joel recommends:

Rumble Fish "A few years ago I caught a double feature at the Castro Theatre. I have no idea what the first movie was that drew me there that...

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Making a purchase request for the MI collections is a popular and extensively used benefit of membership. Suppose you recently read a book review of a title that you look forward to reading. You check the Library catalog and discover that the book is not held in the collection. Fill this gap by requesting that we acquire the item.

Each month, the Library receives eighty-plus purchase suggestions, mainly for fiction titles and non-fiction books on a wide range of subjects, as well as D...

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The Mechanics' Institute Annual Report for 2017 is available online, or in print format at the service desks. Learn more about what Mechanics' Institute accomplished on your behalf in 2017, including...

  • Highlights about the library, chess room, and events department
  • An overview of the annual financial audit
  • A big thanks to all of our donors, with info on how you can help Mechanics' thrive for another 163...
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Hi Writers!


We’re more than ½ way through with National Novel Writers Month (time flies!) and by now you know if you’re sticking with it or not. To those of you who are, congratulations! To the ones who haven't had the time, energy, or ability to write 5-7 pages a day, that’s okay! We hope you’re still writing at all!


Either way, if you take writing seriously, you may want to consider a writing group. While many writers are solitary (and certain...

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