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Field Trip: SF Main Branch Public Library

Now that I’m more mobile again, I can actually get around the city to do things.  Mom gave me the brilliant idea to find the closest public library, to get a card and check out some books–now why didn’t I think of that?

Actually, it’s been on my Moving To-Do list for a while–along with finding a grocery store and post office, finding the library is one of those essential parts of moving.  But with everything that’s happened, it got pushed to the back of the list. So here we are, four months later.  But  now that it’s time to find the library, I realized it wasn’t as simple as looking up “The San Fran public library.”  I’ve always lived in small towns with ONE public library…  Well, news flash–San Fran has over 25 branches!

There are three branches within walking distance–but there are pros and cons to each.  The main branch is huge but it’s in the Tenderloin–just about the only part of SF you don’t want to walk through alone or at night.  The Chinatown branch is close by, but the reviews say it’s always crowded and noisy.  There’s a smaller branch with old architecture, but it’s closed for renovations.

So!  Which library should I visit?  The obvious solution, of course, is to check them all out!  Sounds like a fun field trip to me 🙂

Sam and I decided to tackle the main branch first, so this past weekend we left around 2 PM to find it.  It’s actually very simple to find–we live at the cross street, so it was a straight line–for 15 blocks.  Through the Tenderloin.  It’s really not that bad, especially with some artful dodging of shady streets (and people), but I was glad to have the hubby with me.

The main branch is located right across the street from City Hall.

And right after I snapped that pic, we happened upon a very specific festival… a Filipino book fair.

There was music, food, and tents selling…. books with a Filipino perspective.  You never know what you’ll find in this city!  I even got this awesome free tote, which I used to carry my library books!

The library was huge… it was a little overwhelming at first.

Sam and I both got our new library cards.  I suppose it makes sense, but I thought it was a really cool feature that one card works for all branches–very convenient!  First, we checked out the children’s section, of course.  It was a really nice area, although the busiest spot was the computer center–all the kids were playing online games and watching Youtube videos.  Le sigh.

looking up

Then we scoped out the audio/visual room and the fiction section, and then checked out 2 books in the self-checkout line!  Very cool.

Overall, it was a great experience.  Glad I have my card.  But I don’t think I’ll be hiking the 15 blocks by myself any time soon–I could get a bus, of course, but being able to walk is half the fun of the idea.

I’ll keep you posted when I visit the next branch!  Maybe one day I’ll visit every one–quite a challenge!

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