Monsters vs Aliens - Teen Movie Day - January 6th

When a meteorite from outer space hits a young girl and douses her with the alien substance Quantonium she is turned into a 48 foot monster. Then she gets taken to a secret government compound where she meets a ragtag group of monsters who have been rounded up over the years. This crew of reluctant heroes is asked to save the earth from the evil alien Gallaxhar in this animated comedy. (2009, 94 mins.)

Movies for teens the first Wednesday each month. Ages 12-18. Snacks provided. For more information, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868.
Wednesday, January 6th, 4-6 p.m.

First Monday Movies - Murder, My Sweet - January 4th

His name is Philip Marlowe, and for the right price he'll follow an unfaithful husband, find a missing bankroll, or spy on a suspicious neighbor. And when he's drawn into a complex web of murder, blackmail and double-dealing, the result is the quintessential film-noir, Murder, My Sweet. Dick Powell shows grittiness and snap as the hard-boiled detective who finds himself ensnared in an elaborate net of murder and deceit. At the center of the mystery is a missing jade necklace and a dim-witted but dangerous thug named Moose (Mike Mazurki) who wants Marlowe to find his lost girlfriend, Velma (Claire Trevor). Directed by Edward Dmytryk. (1944/95mins)

Murder, My Sweet is the first film in this year's First Monday Movies series. The theme for 2010 is Film Noir, a perennial favorite of our audiences. Postwar pessimism, fatalism, menace, and cynical characters – what’s not to like? This year we'll be showing classics of the genre, some renowned, some less well known although critically acclaimed.

If you love Film Noir, remember to check out the Noir City Film Festival at the Castro Theatre, January 22-31, 2010.

Monday, January 4th - 6:30 p.m.

Holiday Hours

Excelsior Branch and all other San Francisco libraries will be closed for Christmas Day, Friday, December 25th and New Year's Day, Friday, January 1st.

The library will close at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 24th and 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 31st.

Happy Holidays from the staff at Excelsior Branch Library!

For Teens - Make a Friendship Bracelet! - December 23rd

Do you have a friend you want to grant a wish to? Come and learn how to make friendship bracelets that just might have wish-granting powers! Just in time for Christmas. All materials provided. May Hao, a recent graduate of Lowell High School, will be leading this workshop. For ages 12-18. For more information, contact Marla Bergman, Teen Librarian, at or (415) 355-2868.

Wednesday, December 23rd - 4-5:30 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Searching the catalog for holiday books

The subject headings used by libraries aren't always the terms you might think of when you begin searching for a book. Here are some search tips to help you find holiday books and materials.

Cooking and baking are very popular this time of year, but if you search for “cooking” you might be missing a world of possibilities because the subject heading used is “cookery” instead of cooking.

So, if you want to find cookbooks for the season, try these subject/keyword searches: “Jewish cookery,” “Christmas cookery,” “Holiday cookery” and “Kwanzaa cookery.” If you would like to find candies or cookies to bake for gifts, try these much simpler subject searches: “cookies,” “baking,” “candy,” or “confectionary.”

If you want to find books and other materials about Hanukkah, do a subject/keyword search for “Hanukkah,” “Fasts and feasts Judaism,” or “Jewish Cookery.” To find children’s books, do a subject search for “Hanukkah -- Juvenile fiction.”

To find Christmas topics, try these subject/keyword searches: “Christmas decorations,” “Christmas stories,” and “Christmas – Fiction.” To find Christmas music on CD, search for”Christmas Music” and limit material type to “Music CD.” If you want to find a movie, search for “Christmas” and limit to material type “DVD/VCD” or “VHS Video.” For more information on searching go to the catalog FAQs (

To find Kwanzaa topics, try these subject/keyword searches: “Kwanzaa decorations,” “Kwanzaa cookery,” and “Kwanzaa Fiction.” To find Kwanzaa music, search for the subject “Kwanzaa songs and music.” The keyword search “Kwanzaa” should give you all the above topics and more.

Midwinter holidays are celebrated all around the world, for more information on additional holidays, see a Librarian.

Tuesday Tips will be taking a holiday until the end of the year and will be returning on an occasional basis starting next year. Happy Holidays from the Excelsior Tipsters.

Vampire Club for Tweens & Teens - December 9th-January 20th

Twilight, Moonlight, Vampirelight! Are you camp Jacob or Edward? How about Dracula or Angel? Come enjoy the Vampire myth in this 7-week Vampire Club with WritersCorps. We will be trading vampire stories and secrets, making vampire greeting cards, letters, bracelets, buttons and much more. Come bite into some fun! Open to tweens and teens.

For more information or to register, contact Marla Bergman, Teen Librarian, (415) 355-2868.

Wednesdays, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.
December 9th - January 20th

Teen Winter Reading Contest - December 12, 2009-January 16, 2010

What are you doing over winter break? Why not sign up for the Teen Winter Reading contest? Beginning Saturday, December 12th, come to the Excelsior Branch (or another participating library) and pick up a reading log. Fill out one reading log for every 5 hours you read and you’ll be entered into a raffle for your chance to win cool prizes! The more you read, the more chances you have to win!

Return your reading logs to the Excelsior Branch by Saturday, January 16th. Participation in this program is free. For ages 12 to 18. You must have a library card to enter. For more information, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868.

December 12, 2009- January 16, 2010


TODAY'S TIP - Understanding Statuses

After you have searched the catalog and found just the title you are looking for, how do you tell where, when or if you can get the item? The catalog record gives you all the information you need. The following guide will help you understand statuses, especially during those times when you are searching from home or when the library is closed.

LOCATION: This will give you the name of the Branch and possibly the special section within that branch where the material is located. Each branch is different, but common locations include Adult, New Books, Children and Reference.

CALL NUMBER: This is the number you will use to find the item on the shelf. The same edition of a book, movie or CD should have the same call number at every location in the San Francisco Public Library system. For detail on special collections call numbers and locations, see

STATUS: This tells you about the current status of the book. Is it checked out? Has the book been ordered? Here are the statuses you will see most often:

DUE: If the status says DUE followed by a date, the item is checked out.
CHECK SHELF: Check the shelf for the book, DVD, CD, etc. If it’s not there, ask a librarian for assistance.
ON HOLD SHELF: The item is being held by request of a library user.
MISSING: The item was not on the shelf so it was marked missing. Many missing items turn up, so it's worth double-checking the shelf or asking the librarian for assistance.
IN TRANSIT: This item is being sent from one library location to another.
ON ORDER: The Library has ordered the item from the publisher but has not yet received it.
AT VENDOR: This item is currently being processed by the bookseller.
DAMAGED/REPAIR: This item was damaged and is currently being repaired.

For more information and other statuses, go to

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

First Monday Movies - The Letter - December 7th

The heavy stillness of the tropical night is suddenly broken by shots ringing out... and a woman with a gun descending a staircase. Holding the gun is Leslie Crosbie (Bette Davis, in one of her greatest performances). She says she killed the man in self-defense. Her poise and stoicism impress nearly everyone who meets her and the case seems straightforward. But then his widow turns up claiming to have a letter written by Leslie to the dead man which could get her convicted of murder. From a play by Somerset Maugham. Directed by William Wyler. (1940, 95 mins.)

Monday, December 7th @ 6:30 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Saving Search Results

You have done a search in the library catalog and would like to keep a list of all or some of the items in the search results. The SFPL catalog allows you to save records for printing, emailing or for requesting multiple items at once.

To left of each item in your search result, you will see a check box. Click on it to make a check mark in the box. Then click the “Save Selected” button.

Click on the “Saved Items” button at the top of the page. At this point, you will have the option to place holds on the items or to view them for printing, emailing or saving. (You can also print, email or save records from your lists (see last week's tip) by clicking on “export my lists.”)

You have the option to get different versions of the record when you click the “View Saved Items” button. Options include Full Display (what you see on the screen when you look a specific record, MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging, a very detailed version of the record), or Brief Display (Title, author, publication and call number). Click the radio button for the format you would like. Most often, the Brief Display will suffice.

To email the list, click the “Email” button and enter your email address and then “Submit.” To view the list on the screen and print it, click the “Screen” button and then “Submit.” To save the list on your home computer, click the “Local Disk” button and then “Submit.”

If you would like to reserve any or all of the items in your saved records list, follow the instructions on how to request multiple items.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!


TODAY'S TIP - Creating & Saving Reading Lists

Are all those DVDs for TV drama series clogging up your list of holds? Can fifteen hold slots not contain all the items you want to watch, read or listen to? The SFPL catalog provides you with an easy way to keep ongoing lists of items you want to read, order later, or just have on your list.

To use the Lists function, you will need to log into your record from the SFPL homepage. Once you have completed a search in the catalog, you have the option to add the search results to a list. Click the check box beside each of the records you would like to save and look for the “Save to List” button above the search results. From the dropdown menu, choose “Create a new list.”

A new page will open. Name your list and give it a description, if you like. To save the list, click the “OK” button. Once you have created a list, you can add to it by choosing it from the dropdown menu. Or, you can create multiple lists.

You can make changes to your lists anytime you are logged in. Click on the Library Record button and click on the entry My Lists. You can delete records from your list, request items on your list, or export lists.

Look for a tip in the coming weeks about exporting and saving records once you have created a list.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Dolorous Knight Day in San Francisco - Celebrated 10/3/09

The Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution making October 3, 2009 Dolorous Knight Day in San Francisco. Dolorous Knight, avid reader and long-time Excelsior resident, was honored for her generous support of libraries, especially the Excelsior Branch where she has been a patron for many years.

In conjunction with the International Day of Older Persons, District 11 Supervisor John Avalos presented Dolorous Knight with the proclamation naming October 3rd Dolorous Knight Day. Dolorous Knight's generous contributions benefit the library in numerous ways, and make possible programming for children, teens and adults at the Excelsior Branch.

Thank you Dolorous!


TODAY'S TIP - LearningExpress Library

Last week’s tip talked about the Live Homework Help database, and how jobseekers could use it to go over their resumes with a tutor, and other useful resources for Adult Learners.

Today we’re featuring another great database called LearningExpress Library. LearningExpress Library is where students and workers of all ages can find practice tests in a wide variety of subjects.

The LearningExpress Library database has college prep tests, including ACT, SAT, TOEFL iBT, CLEP, AP prep tests and nursing school entrance exams. It also has a variety of GED tests, including Spanish language GED. Grad school tests include GMAT, GRE, LSAT and MCAT. There are also Jobs & Careers practice tests for ASVAB, EMT, cosmetology, Nursing, real estate, commercial driver’s license (CDL), etc. Job skills resources include help with writing resumes and cover letters.

Whatever your goal, the resources made available by SFPL through LearningExpress Library and Live Homework Help will help you succeed. These databases have some similar content (if you like taking education related tests, you’re going to want to use them both!), but while Live Homework Help allows you to work one-on-one with a real tutor, LearningExpress Library’s specialty is providing a wide variety of vocational and civil service practice tests.

If you’ve been reading our Tuesday Tips, by now you know how to get to LearningExpress Library. Okay, from the SFPL homepage, click on Articles & Databases, then choose either the Education category or the Student Resources category from the list on the left. Create a user name and password, and you can keep track of the tests you've taken and how you did.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Henna for Teens - November 18th

Henna body art, or mehndi, is an ancient art. Henna has been used to adorn young women's bodies as part of social and holiday celebrations since the late Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. In this workshop, you'll be able to choose a design for a free, safe, temporary tattoo, and learn how to apply it with henna. Henna artist Charitie Bolling will show you how. Program limited to 20 teens. For ages 12-18. For participants under 18, a signed parent/guardian permission form must be returned prior to the workshop. To reserve your space and/or request a permission form, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868 or

Wednesday, November 18th - 4-6 p.m.

Excelsior Arts & Culture Salon - November 18th

Author, editor, and independent scholar Autumn Stanley extensively researched this first biography of nineteenth-century magazine editor and reformer Charlotte Smith.

Smith's story is quintessentially American: this daughter of Irish immigrants became a force to be reckoned with despite having only a grade-school education and supporting two children alone.

Her first periodical, the Inland Monthly, was doubly rare: edited by a woman but not a women's magazine; and a profitable venture, bringing a large sum when sold. In Washington, D.C. she gained the ear of a powerful senator and the respect of many others in Congress through her unfailing attendance at its sessions and hearings, her undercover investigations of working conditions, and, after 1882, her all-female union.

Smith became a tireless advocate for working women, women inventors, prostitutes, and the poor and unfortunate in general. Nationally famous, with frequent coverage in major newspapers, she founded her second periodical, the Working Woman, in 1886 and later in the decade her third periodical, the Woman Inventor.

All those who enjoy a good mystery, namely why this dynamic woman has been forgotten by history, as well as those who delight in seeing long overdue credit given at last, should enjoy this presentation.

Wednesday, November 18th @ 7 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Live Homework Help

Live Homework Help provides professionally trained and experienced tutors to help students from grade 2 to Adult Learners. The subjects you can get help with include math, science, English, social studies, reading comprehension and writing. You can even have a tutor take a look at your essay and make suggestions for improving it. Live Homework Help is available 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. every day. En Espanol available Sunday - Thursday 2 p.m. - 7 p.m.

But wait, there’s more!

Are you an Adult Learner, a job seeker, interested in citizenship? You can get help with your resume, just upload it from your computer and go over it with your tutor. You can chat with a tutor about citizenship eligibility, or take a practice citizenship test. You can get information about returning to school.

Live Homework Help also includes the Skills Center Library which is available 24/7. Thousands of students and job seekers have used the Skills Center Library to access worksheets, tutorials, study guides and more! Browse through the articles and you’ll be amazed what you can learn.

How to you get to Live Homework Help? From our homepage (, click on Articles & Databases, then choose the Student Resources category on the left side of the page. To get an idea of all that Live Homework Help has to offer, take a look at the Demo Video on the lower right side of the page.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!


TODAY'S TIP - Periodical Finder

Last week’s tip showed how you could access full text reviews from Consumer Reports for free using our EBSCOhost magazine database.

Today’s tip tells you how you can find out whether or not we have the full text of your favorite magazine (or newspaper) available to read or print out from your home computer using our online databases.

From our home page (, click on e-Library and then Articles and Databases and you will see the link for Periodical Finder to the right of the list of databases.

Type the title you want in the search box (or the issn) and hit enter. The first item you see will be the link to our catalog for the print edition of the magazine, including which branches carry it. The next links will tell you which databases have the Full Text of the magazine and what years they cover. 01/01/1991 to present means that you can read the full text of all issues of the magazine for those dates.

Sometimes the magazine will be available in more than one database; simply choose the one that includes the dates you are interested in. When you click on the name of the database you will get a list by year of the issues, click the year and you will get a list of each issue and all the articles in that issue.

You can also browse Periodical Finder by title, or if you just want to get an idea of the scope of materials contained in our periodical databases, you can browse Periodical Finder by subject.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Magic Dan - October 29th

Magic Dan brings his magic show to Excelsior just in time for Halloween! Come and dress in costume and join the fun. Ages 3 and older. Space is limited. Please call (415) 355-2868 for group reservations.

Thursday, October 29th @ 11 a.m.

First Monday Movies - The Woman in the Window - November 2nd

A psychology professor, Richard Wanley (Edward G. Robinson), is fascinated by a portrait of a beautiful woman he sees in a window near his club. He's shocked when he realizes that the picture's model, Alice Reed (Joan Bennett), is standing right next to him. When Wanley accepts Alice’s invitation to her apartment, a man suddenly breaks in, threatens them and is stabbed by Wanley in self-defense. The professor and the model then try to cover up the crime. As renowned critic Pauline Kael noted, The Woman in the Window has "the logic and plausibility of a nightmare." Also starring Dan Duryea. Directed by Fritz Lang. (1944, 99 mins.)

Monday, November 2nd @ 6:30 p.m.

SAT Workshops @ Excelsior in November!

Excelsior Branch will be offering a series of SAT classes beginning Tuesday, November 10, 2009. You must register online at SuccessLink Tutoring These classes fill up fast, but be sure to put your name on the wait-list and come to the first class, because there may be space for wait-listed people.

Excelsior is offering the 10-hour SAT INTENSIVE on Tuesdays: November 10, 17, 24, December 1 from 4:00 - 6:30 p.m.

In this workshop, we will cover everything you need to know to improve your scores on SAT, including basic test strategy, time management techniques, process of elimination, the essay, vocabulary help, grammar, critical reading and math - all in just 10 hours of class time.

PLEASE NOTE: This course now has over 25 registrants. Additional students who register will be placed on a wait-list, and admitted as space allows. We generally accept at least 10 students from each wait-list, so plan on arriving at the first session 15 minutes prior to the start of class. Wait-listed students will be admitted only after attendance is confirmed for the first 25 registrants.

Tuesdays, November 10, 17, 24 and December 1 - 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Consumer Reports online & free

Did you know that as a San Francisco library patron you can get full text reviews from Consumer Reports for free on your home computer? Consumer Reports is available from our EBSCOhost Magazines database. You can even get complete articles from the most recent issue.

From our home page ( click on e-Library then Articles & Databases, then choose EBSCOhost Magazines MasterFILE Premier. Click Advanced Search and type your search terms in the search box. On the lower part of the page you’ll see the Limit your Results section. Type “Consumer Reports” in the publication field, then click Search. Click the PDF icon to see the full text of the article.

So if want to read up on credit card changes, check out the October issue of Consumer Reports online.

PDF files look like original documents and preserve source file information — text, drawings, full-color graphics, photos, and those all important ratings charts. To print PDF files, be sure to click the print button on the PDF toolbar (right above the article), rather than the browser's print function.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Twilight - Teen Movie on a Tuesday! October 27th

Can’t wait to see (or re-see) the movie Twilight? Or just want to refresh your memory in preparation for New Moon’s movie release on November 20th? Well, you’re in luck because the date for Twilight’s showing at Excelsior Branch has been moved up to October 27th! Here are the details:

Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) doesn't expect much when she moves to the small town of Forks, Washington. Then she meets the mysterious and handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) - a boy who's hiding a dark secret: he's a vampire. As their worlds and hearts collide, Edward battles the bloodlust raging inside him as well as a clique of undead that would make Bella their prey. Based on the #1 New York Times bestselling book by Stephenie Meyers, Twilight adds a dangerous twist to the classic story of star-crossed lovers.

Movies for teens are usually shown every first Wednesday at Excelsior Branch. Ages 12-18. Snacks provided. For more information, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868.

Tuesday, October 27th - 4-6 p.m.

The American Resting Place - Arts & Culture Salon - October 28th

Just in time for Halloween, cultural historian Marilyn Yalom discusses her definitive history of the American cemetery, The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through Our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds. Her book illuminates gravestones, graveyards, and burial practices found throughout the United States, including those of the Spanish Catholic missions of California, along with vivid and poignant descriptions. Photographs by her son, Reid S. Yalom, a San Francisco resident.

Wednesday, October 28th @ 7 p.m.

TUESDAY TIPS (Genealogy Class Saturday 10/17)

TODAY'S TIP: Genealogy Resources at the Library

San Francisco Public Library can support you in many of your hobbies, from crafts to sports to family history research. With databases offered by SFPL, you can do much of your genealogy research online for free.

From the homepage, click on e-Library and then Articles & Databases, then choose the History & Genealogy category from the pull-down Category menu. You can choose either Ancestry Library Edition or HeritageQuest Online.

Ancestry Library Edition contains a massive amount of genealogy data, including all available US Censuses with name and other indexes, military records, passenger ship lists, and vital records. You can begin your search by entering whatever information you have on the person you are seeking, including name and birth information. After finding relevant documents, facsimiles can be viewed, printed and saved to your USB drive as a JPEG file. Ancestry Library Edition is only available in the library, not from home.

HeritageQuest Online is a collection of databases that include the PERSI periodical index, Revolutionary War records and the US Census with some name indexes. The PERSI index includes citations for over 2 million family and local history articles. Facsimiles of original documents can be viewed, printed and saved to your USB drive or home computer, generally as a PDF or TIFF file.

If you are interested in starting your family history research or would like to brush up on your skills and knowledge of online genealogy resources, join us at Excelsior Branch for a class on Genealogy Research Basics on Saturday, October 17 at 3:30 p.m. In addition to basic online research principles, detailed instructions on downloading from HeritageQuest and Ancestry Library Edition will be given in this class.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Ghost Hunting for Teens! - October 21st

Ever wonder if ghosts are real? If they are, how can you tell a real ghost from a fake? Is it true that teens tend to experience poltergeists more than other age groups? A real ghost hunter from SF Ghost Society, Tommy Netzband, will talk about his experiences investigating ghosts and hauntings. He will also show you how to use ghost hunting tools and share some ghostly images and sounds he has caught on DVD. Get the info, then you decide what to believe!

For more information or to register, contact Marla Bergman at (415) 355-2868.

Wednesday, October 21st @ 4 p.m.

Columbus Day - October 12th - Library Closed!

All San Francisco Public Library facilities, including the Excelsior Branch, will be closed for Columbus Day on Monday, October 12th. We will be open again Tuesday, October 13th, at 10:00 a.m.


TODAY'S TIP: Suggest a Title

Have you checked the catalog for a book and discovered that San Francisco Public Library doesn’t have it? Or maybe you’ve been checking out a television series and SFPL doesn’t have the season you want to see. If you know that other patrons would be interested in these items and want to suggest that we purchase a book, or dvd, or other item, you just need to fill out a simple online form.

From the homepage (, click “search catalog”. Above the search box, you will see a link for “Suggest a Title.” Click the type of item you are suggesting - book, film, music, etc. Then fill out the form with your name, library card number, and as much of the information we request about the item as you can give us.

If it’s a book you are looking for, please remember to check with a librarian to see if it’s available through Link+, our partnership with 47 other library systems. Or you can do Link+ searches and requests yourself; this earlier Tuesday Tip tells you how to do that.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Do-it-Yourself Disaster Preparedness - October 14th

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey predicts that a catastrophic earthquake will occur in the Bay Area sometime within the next 25 years. The American Red Cross Do-it-Yourself Disaster Preparedness Course provides you with the information you need to make an emergency communication plan, build a 3 day disaster supply kit for your loved ones, and safely respond to earthquakes, fires, and other disasters. For more information visit The Big Rumble (

Wednesday, October 14th - 7 p.m.

SENIOR COMMUNITY FAIR @ EXCELSIOR - Fitness for Adults Who Are 50+

Come meet representatives of non-profit organizations and agencies that serve seniors, including the San Francisco Public Library, the Mission YMCA, the Department of Aging and Adult Services, the Elder Financial Protection Network and more.

Get information and advice on how to stay active, become engaged in the community, avoid financial scams and invest wisely. Obtain a benefits checkup. See a demonstration of fitness video games on a Wii console. The first 50 visitors aged 50 and over will receive a free tote bag! Free information and light refreshments provided.

This event honors Excelsior resident Dolorous Knight, age 95, avid reader and long-time library patron and supporter, on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons.

Saturday, October 3rd - 2:00-4:00 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - LANGUAGE LEARNING – Rosetta Stone, et al.

Want to learn a new language? Would you like learning online or listening on CD or other formats? Short of providing you with a teacher, San Francisco Public Library supplies you with a variety of options to meet your language learning style.

To study online with an interactive course, use the Rosetta Stone series, available from SFPL through our collection of databases. From the homepage, click on Articles & Databases, then choose the Education & Social Science category on the left and click on Rosetta Stone Online Language Learning. If you are a first time user, you will need to register. Then choose which language you would like to learn and start an interactive course. You may have to install Adobe Shockwave if it is not already installed on your home computer.

To find language learning CDs, use the Advanced Search feature of the SFPL catalog. Go to the catalog search page, click on Advanced Search. Type the name of the language and “language instruction” in the search box. Then, choose the material type “Spoken CD.” For example, if you would like to learn Italian, you would type “Italian language instruction” in the search box and limit to “Spoken CD.”

If you would like to get a book instead of - or in addition to other formats, you can do the same search as above, limiting the material type to “book.” Also available are video courses on DVD or VHS.

To download a language learning audiobook from NetLibrary via the catalog, follow the same instructions as for a CD, but chose the material type “Spoken eBook.” First time users will have to register. For more information on NetLibrary, see the Tuesday Tip on this Blog.

To download a language course via OverDrive, you can search for a title or browse for one by looking for “language learning” under Audiobook Nonfiction on the left side of the page. For more information on OverDrive, see the Tuesday Tip on this Blog.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Coraline - Teen Movie Day - October 7th

Coraline is a curious young girl who unlocks a mysterious door in her family's new home and enters into an adventure in a parallel reality. On the surface, this "Other World" eerily mimics her own life - though it is much more fantastical. After encountering different versions of her own life, Coraline must ultimately rely on her resourcefulness, determination and bravery to get back home. Animated feature (2009, 100 mins)

Movies for teens every first Wednesday. Ages 12-18. Snacks provided. For more information, contact Marla at (415) 355-2868.
Wednesday, October 7th - 4-6 p.m.

First Monday Movies - This Property is Condemned and Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema Shorts - October 5th

In this Depression-era drama, Owen Legate, a railroad executive, comes to Dodson, Mississippi to shut down the railway, leaving most of the town unemployed. Natalie Wood plays Alva Starr, a young woman with big dreams and nowhere to go. Alva can't help falling for Legate (Robert Redford) and their affair ignites the town's revenge. From a one-act play by Tennessee Williams. Directed by Sydney Pollack. (1966, 110 mins.)

Special co-presentation: Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema shares its version of Leading Ladies with a line-up of locally produced shorts by independent filmmakers prior to this evening's feature. Note start time @ 6 p.m.

Monday, October 5th @ 6:00 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - NetLibrary eAudiobooks & eBooks

In addition to OverDrive, another way SFPL provides patrons with access to digital content is via NetLibrary. The collection provided by NetLibrary includes eAudiobooks (you listen to them) and eBooks (you read them) which can be downloaded to a computer that supports Windows Media Player 9.0 or higher, and transferred to a portable device. Note – only mp3 format eAudiobooks can be transferred to ipods.

To access NetLibrary, go to the San Francisco Public Library homepage,, and click on eMedia, then click on NetLibrary. NetLibrary titles can also be found by searching the catalog. Just look for the “eBook” or “Spoken eBook” icons to the right of the listing. Whether you access the content through the catalog or through the eMedia link, the first time you use NetLibrary for downloading you will have to register for a free account and install the NetLibrary Media Center.

You can check out 10 NetLibrary eAudiobooks at one time for 21 days, then the files will "time out" and no longer be playable. You can renew eAudiobooks once.

There are two different checkout periods for NetLibrary eBooks. Titles that can be read online-only can be checked out for 24 hours. Titles that can be downloaded to your computer or hand-held device can be checked out for 7 days. You cannot renew eBooks, but you can turn them in and check them out again. Only a limited number of pages can be printed from eBooks.

NetLibrary offers audiobooks and eBooks on a wide variety of topics for adults including many classic works and works in the public domain. There is also a large selection of language-learning materials. Titles are available for teens and children as well.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Pinhole Photography Workshop for teens - September 26th

Pinhole cameras reduce photography to its most basic elements and demonstrate fundamental principles of optics in a way that is visual and easy to understand. Students will learn about optics and make their own camera obscuras and then take photos and process them in a mini darkroom created for the library. Instructor - Kira Shemano from RayKo Photo Center. All materials provided. Ages 12-18. Workshop limited to 10 participants.

For more information or to sign up, contact teen librarian Marla at (415) 355-2868.

Saturday, September 26th - 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Native California - Arts & Culture Salon - September 23rd

The Excelsior Arts & Culture Salon hosts a book talk with Dr. Dolan Eargle, author of Native California: An Introductory Guide to the Original Peoples from Earliest to Modern Times. The indigenous groups of this state are undergoing considerable change - much of it in the recovery of almost lost cultures - language, ceremonies, basketry, land, and even tribal members. Dr. Eargle has spent the past 35 years visiting and learning from native Californians and identifying their arts, customs, and beliefs.

Wednesday, September 23rd - 7 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Using OverDrive to Download Audiobooks, ebooks, music and video

Do you like audiobooks? Would you like the convenience of listening on your ipod or mp3 player? OverDrive is one of the ways the Library provides access to digital content. OverDrive allows you to download audiobooks, ebooks, music and video onto your personal computer. Then you can transfer them to your portable devices, including the Sony Reader for ebooks.

To access OverDrive, go to the San Francisco Public Library homepage,, and click on e-Library and then e-Books, then click on OverDrive.

Here you can browse audiobooks (and music and video) by category or do a search by title, author or subject. When you find something you want, add it to your cart. If an audiobook is already checked out, you can place a digital hold, and you will be notified by email when the audiobook is available. You can choose a checkout period of 7, 14 or 21 days. At the end of the checkout period, the item will be automatically returned. No late fees! You can check out 5 OverDrive items at a time.

You'll be asked to finish the transaction by typing in your library card number and PIN number. The first time you use OverDrive, you will be prompted to download the OverDrive Media Console, a free software program that displays your audiobooks, cds and videos, and guides you through the process of transferring audiobooks from your computer to your mp3 player or ipod, or burning to cd, if that option is available. A note on burning to cd – OverDrive audiobooks are divided into parts. Each part is approximately an hour in length. To burn a 7 part audiobook, you will need 7 blank cds.

OverDrive offers children's, teen and adult audiobooks. To get an idea of the audiobooks available through OverDrive, here's a list of the most downloaded audiobooks and ebooks in libraries through February 1, 2010. Check it out today!

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Yoga for Teens! - September 16th

Come stretch at Excelsior Branch Library! A certified yoga instructor from It's Yoga Kids will demonstrate the fun and healthy benefits of yoga. Please bring your own mat or a towel. Ages 12-18. Space is limited. For more information or to register, please call Marla at (415) 355-2868.

Wednesday, September 16th, 4-5 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP: Borrowing from the Library - How Many? How Long? How Much?

How many books can I borrow? How long can I keep them? What if I return them after the due date?

Patrons can check out 50 items on their library card at one time. This includes books, dvds, cds, etc. Most library materials can be borrowed for 3 weeks (21 days) with up to 3 renewals if no one is waiting. The major exceptions to this rule include video materials (DVD/VCD/VHS) which can be borrowed for one week (7 days) and can be renewed only once. Detailed information on item limits and loan periods is available at

Items can be renewed online, by phone or in person as long as other patrons have not requested the item.

Link+ and Interlibrary Loan materials have special conditions, including different renewal periods and fines for lost materials.

If you do end up with overdue materials, you can find out about fines at our fines and fees page. These fines can paid in person at any San Francisco Public Library location. Credit cards may be used only at the Main Library or online. To pay your fines online, log into your library record from the Library’s homepage.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

First Monday Movies - Picnic - September 14th

Hal Carter (William Holden) is a drifter who rides the rails into a small Kansas town with dreams of landing a respectable job with his rich college buddy Alan (Cliff Robertson). Kim Novak is the small-town beauty queen, Madge Owens, yearning for something she can't quite grasp. She is engaged to Alan but she falls for the drifter, as do schoolteacher Rosemary Sidney (Rosalind Russell) and Madge's tomboyish kid sister, Millie. Everything comes to a head at the Labor Day picnic. Directed by Joshua Logan (1955, 115 mins.)

Note: Movie shown on 2nd Monday this month only, due to Labor Day Holiday.

Monday, September 14th @ 6:30 p.m.

Labor Day - September 7th - Libraries Closed!

The Excelsior Branch and all other San Francisco Public Library branches will be closed on Monday, September 7th for Labor Day. Labor Day is the day we pay tribute to working women and men. The libraries will reopen on Tuesday, September 8th.

Boswick the Clown - September 10th

Boswick the clown will bring his magic and juggling show to Excelsior Branch on Thursday, September 10th. The performance includes physical comedy, audience participation, fire juggling, lots of "why did the chicken cross the road?" jokes and acrobatic pratfalls. The show starts at 11 a.m. Children of all ages invited. Space is limited. Call (415) 355-2836 for reservations.

Thursday, September 10th @ 11 a.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Finding Books Published This Year

Has it been a busy year? Do you want to catch up on your reading of recently published novels?
There are a couple of ways to find the most current titles available at the Library. You can view a selected list of the most recent books received by the Library by using the New Title feature from the homepage. Click on “New Titles” then choose the list for fiction books. Lists of new non-fiction books, DVDs, CDs and more are also available on this page.

Or you can search for all books published in 2009 that are available at the Library with Advanced Search. From the SFPL catalog search page, click on Advanced Search. For novels, type “fiction” in the search box, then limit the material type to "book. " You can also limit by language. In the boxes next to “Year: After” type “2008.” This will give you a very large list, so if you choose, you can use additional keywords to narrow the list, like “historical fiction” or “suspense fiction” or “humorous fiction.”

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Teen Movie - Take the Lead - September 2nd

A professional dancer volunteers to teach a group of detention-dwellers in an inner city New York school. He is as polished as they are rough, and though they clash at first, they soon begin to realize that his lessons are about more than dancing. His classic style is combined with their hip-hop moves to create an incredible dance fusion that explodes on screen. Starring Antonio Banderas. (2006, 108 mins.)

Movies for teens every first Wednesday. Ages 12-18. Snacks provided. For more information, call teen librarian Marla at (415) 355-2868.
Wednesday, September 2nd - 4-6 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Using LINK+ to request books that are unavailable at SFPL

Has this ever happened to you ... the book you want to check out is Library Use Only? Or the book you want isn’t in the San Francisco Public Library catalog? What if SFPL has copies of the book but they are all checked out? Or the book is damaged or missing?

LINK+ allows you to request books that are not available at the San Francisco Public Library for any of the above reasons.

When you search for books, you will see a tab at the top of the results list which says “Search LINK +.” When you click on this tab, your search will be redone in the catalogs of our cooperating libraries, and the new search results will tell you if the book you can't get at SFPL is available in any other library systems. Then just click the button “Request this item” and fill out a brief form with your name, library card number and pin number, and which branch you would like the book sent to. LINK+ books are usually delivered to the branch within 4 days.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website. New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!


TODAY'S TIP: Using Advanced Searching to Find a List of All DVDs

Patrons often ask if we have a list of all dvds, or a list of all audiobooks, at the branch. We don’t have print lists, but you can create your own by doing an advanced search. From the SFPL catalog search page, click on Advanced Search.

Put an asterisk (*) in the search box, then limit the material type to DVD/VCD (or whatever material type you want), and limit the “Scope” to Excelsior Branch. Once the search is done, you can click “limit to available” to see only the dvds that are on the shelf right now.
Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website.New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

A Gift Not Wasted - Arts & Culture Salon - August 26th

Belia Marina makes the case for organ donation in her book, A Gift Not Wasted, a memoir about her niece and godchild, Sylvia, who suffered from kidney failure. Share the hopes and fears, joy and sadness of a loving Mexican-American family as they fight for the life of one of their own. The need for organ donation is especially critical in the Hispanic community, and a Spanish-language translator will be present at this event.

Wednesday, August 26th - 7 p.m.


TODAY'S TIP - Make Your Own Reading Wish List

You can use your browser’s bookmarking function along with the SFPL catalog to create a list of books you want to read.
After you find the record for a book you like, look for the box next to "Web address for this page” (it's near the bottom of the book record) to find the unique URL.
Copy that URL and paste it into the address bar and hit enter. You can then bookmark the page for the book and start creating your own reading list.

Excelsior Librarians and Staff share tips & tricks to help you make the most of the San Francisco Public Library catalog, databases and website.
New tips posted Tuesdays on the Excelsior Blog. Watch this space!

Excelsior Branch Anniversary Party - August 15th

Excelsior Branch Library
Open House and Resource Fair
Saturday, August 15, 2009
1–3 p.m.

Come celebrate the 4th anniversary of the Excelsior Branch Library renovation. Entertain­ment, information, and light refreshments will be provided. Happy Anniver­sary Excelsior!

Enjoy Carnival of Chaos, the Summer Reading Com­edy Extravaganza, view the alternative media display, and have fun using the button-making machine. The Excelsior Branch librarians will give presentations about the resources available at the Branch and demonstrate how to download audiobooks and video to computers and iPods. Adults, teens, children, and families are invited. This event will have some­thing for everyone. Children will receive small prizes.
Excelsior was the first Branch completed in the Branch Library Improvement Program, a voter initiative passed in November 2000. We’re building better libraries for stronger communities.

Saturday, August 15th @ 1 p.m.

The Great Teen Book Swap - August 12th & September 9th

FREE BOOK! Just swap us a review!

Here’s how it works: The Teen Librarian will bring free books out to the Teen Area and hand them out to the first people who want them (or until the books run out). Then you just need to swap us a bookmark review (short!) by the end of the month. The books available may include advance readers’ copies, new or old titles, nonfiction, or graphic novels/manga. For more information, contact Marla Bergman, Teen Librarian, at (415) 355-2868.

Wednesdays, August 12th and September 9th at 3 p.m.