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10/08/2020 - 2:37pm

The November 3 election ballots arrive in mailboxes this week! If you're one of the lucky folks who have received yours, MI reference librarians have assembled a list of unbiased resources to help you navigate this year's long and complicated ballot. 

Voters will decide on 12 statewide measures and a host of local propositions, depending on where you reside. Your votes matter now more than ever. T...

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10/05/2020 - 3:48pm

This week's new Ebooks list adds a wide variety of stunning debut novels with impeccable titles -- Inheritors, Fifty Words for Rain, The All-Night Sun, The Bright Lands, These Violent Delights -- to our digital collection, all woven with common threads of family, friendship and tough choices. Not in the mood for a debut novel? Don't miss these recently released bestselling titles from heavyweight authors such as James Patterson, Stuart Woods, Jodi Picoult, and J....

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10/05/2020 - 3:46pm

The shelves are bursting this week with great titles to help you cope with uncertain times. We're willing to bet David Lebovitz' Drinking French has the precise cocktail to sip while sinking into a comfy couch with a truly exciting book. So what's on our new list this week? Possibly the cutest cover ever is Jodi Murphy's Talking Animals with its thoughtful alpaca on the front cover. But don't let the cute pet deceive you as Murphy's Orwellian fable takes pla...

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10/01/2020 - 10:58am

It's been a stellar year for book-based television adaptations and readers are going to love this fall's exciting lineup of new shows and films. The current network trend toward bookshelf borrowing doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Your library stocks all these titles and more so you can read before you view. Tune in to see how well they translate to the small screen! 


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09/28/2020 - 1:52pm

Sunday marked the start of this year's Banned Books Week (Sept. 27-Oct. 3), an annual event  traditionally associated with celebrating our First Amendment rights. If you do nothing else this week, take a moment to savor your freedom to buy, borrow, publish or read any book of your choice. During the final week in September, the entire book community -- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers,...

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09/24/2020 - 5:29pm

Just when you thought 2020 could not get any worse, more bad news arrives. The recent passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg leaves an enormous void in both the legal profession and in our hearts. The second woman to serve on the US Supreme Court, Ginsburg was a champion for restrained justice. Early in her law career, she overcame many obstacles, including discrimination based on her gender. In 1972, she founded the...

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09/24/2020 - 4:36pm

In 1918, the world was changing for women.  For the first time, women were empowered to work in non-traditional roles outside of the home while men were fighting in World War I, the Spanish Flu epidemic led to an increase in female nurses, and the Mechanics’ Institute hired its first female librarian, Mary Carmody.

Mary was born (1882) and raised in Minnesota where she attended the University of M...

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09/23/2020 - 9:57am

Last week I hosted John Lumea of the Emperor Norton Trust for the talk Emperor Norton in Black San Francisco: Empire Day Notes on SF's Monarch of the Marginalized. This talk was MI’s kickoff event to the annual history festival in the City, San Francisco His...

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09/22/2020 - 11:40am

On my best days, working as an archivist is akin to being a treasure hunter. Recently, I  discovered an unexpected treasure in the Mechanics’ Institute archives. In doing some routine work to confirm the accuracy of the Container Listing written by an intern, I found the Mercantile Library’s Visitor's Register (1853-1863). Artifacts such as the register are rare, as so many historical documents were destr...

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09/17/2020 - 4:03pm

It's that time of year when pumpkins, spiced lattes, and apples appear. Seasonal changes mean it's time to treat yourself to a reading list full of titles guaranteed to put you in an autumnal state of mind. Here in San Francisco, September ushered in with a heat wave and smoky horizons. So as the days grow shorter and the air grows healthier, it seems fitting to swap out beach reads for titles as comforting as a warm...

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