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!