Libraries of the Barbary Coast, 1848-1879 | Mechanics' Institute

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Libraries of the Barbary Coast, 1848-1879
an illustrated lecture with librarian Taryn Edwards

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Though the Mechanics' Institute is currently closed due to the region wide response to the coronavirus we are conducting tours virtually!

This event will be conducted via Zoom. Click here to register.

Please email Taryn Edwards if you have any questions -

San Francisco since its birth has been a literary town. The thousands of people who came to California during the Gold Rush were voracious readers – eager to catch up on the news of the day and to while away the time between shifts in the gold fields with a good book. While many were as simple as a bookshelf of titles in a boarding house; there was a great need for true libraries (with their own building, an organized collection of books, and a staff) to serve the needs of the city’s growing population. In this illustrated lecture, librarian Taryn Edwards will describe the importance of these early libraries as centers for information (i.e. where the best gold diggin's were), self-guided education, camaraderie, and social change.

Taryn Edwards is a Librarian and the Strategic Partnerships Manager for the Mechanics’ Institute of San Francisco. She manages the writers' activities for the Institute, works with other non-profits to achieve mutual goals, and spends a lot of private time digging up history of the place and people associated with it. In addition to her professional duties she is working on her first biography of a major San Francisco figure. She is fascinated by the “mechanics” of writing in the digital age: how authors and historians manage their research, design their project’s structure, and use technology to supplement their workflow. She lives in the beautiful East Bay with her husband, daughter, and two energetic dogs.





Future Activities

Jun 10 - 12:00pm

Virtual Tour of the Mechanics' Institute
with Librarian and Historian Taryn Edwards

Jun 11 - 11:00am

Write Now!
A virtual version of our popular drop-in writing group

Jun 11 - 12:00pm

How to Set New Writing Goals When #ChangeHappens
a conversation with Debra Eckerling

Jun 16 - 12:00pm

Bloomsday Noon - A Montage of Readings, Performances, and Music on Zoom
Cosponsored by Mechanics’ Institute, Gray Area and Consulate General of Ireland, San Francisco and National Library of Ireland

Jun 18 - 11:00am

Write Now!
A virtual version of our popular drop-in writing group

Jun 18 - 12:00pm

Ebook Publishing in a Post COVID-19 World
a conversation with Jim Azevedo from Smashwords