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06/11/2020 - 10:50am

Since opening its doors in 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute has attracted—and continues to attract—scores of local writers. In fact, 179 works by members are part of the Library’s collection.

One of the most vivid in the lineage of card-carrying MI authors is San Francisco native Gertrude Atherton (1857-1948), a prolific novelist and chronicler of California social history. A globetrotting feminist, Atherto...

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06/10/2020 - 3:12pm


James Patterson The 20th victim
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Agafya
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ariadne
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Ward No 6
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov...

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06/10/2020 - 2:52pm

In case you are looking for something good to read during our continuing shelter-at-home order, here are a few more suggestions from our staff:

Autumn (Library Assistant):

Some of my prime pandemic reads:


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06/09/2020 - 12:54pm

Throughout the history of Mechanics’ Institute Library, intellectual growth and cultural advancement has always been promoted and encouraged. MI is widely known for its distinguished library of recreational, educational, and cultural materials. What began as an organization for vocational instruction and recreation during the Gold Rush era in San Francisco has evolved into a diverse community of literary-minded members in...

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06/08/2020 - 10:26am


Arthur Hailey Airport
Angela ElwellHunt Daughter of Cana
Jennifer Steil Exile music
La Jill Hunt Private property
Briana Cole...

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06/05/2020 - 10:51am

This month, Judit Sztaray celebrates her one-year anniversary as general manager of youth outreach and events for the world-renowned Mechanic’s Institute Chess Room. A former science researcher with a Ph.D. in chemistry and the 2017 recipient of the U.S. Chess Federation Organizer of the Year award, Judit grew up playing chess in her native Hungary, where she also honed her skills in Eastern European baking.

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06/04/2020 - 4:09pm

During these uncertain times, it is comforting to know that the performing arts culture continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic. A treasure trove of cultural resources can be found online, free to all.

Come take a look, and listen! Click to enter the enchanted worlds of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, Metropolitan Opera (New York), and Shakespeare Festival (Stratford...

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06/02/2020 - 10:19pm

Did you know that the Mechanics’ Institute Library has hundreds of titles in e-book format to address all your financial information needs?  It’s true! The list of suggested titles was compiled by reference librarian, Craig for readers seeking more information about investing, personal finance and retirement. Click the book title to take you to the catalog. All you need to check out is your 14-digit barcode number (no...

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06/01/2020 - 5:41pm

Some days are ripe for a mental health break. Mechanics’ Institute’s new Kanopy streaming service is the perfect antidote to take your mind off everything that is happening right outside your front door. Kanopy has hundreds of feature films to comfort and lift your spirits. The best part is that you can binge-watch for free with your MI library card.

We’ve assembled a short list here with one goal in mind...

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05/29/2020 - 9:16am

CinemaLit regular Virginia (“Ginny”) Matthews began her modern dance career at Sarah Lawrence College and trained at the Merce Cunningham Studio in New York. A founding member of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in the 1970s, the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award in choreography, and the director of Downtown Dance/Art Space in her hometown of Sebastopol,...

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