Local Public Libraries
San Francisco Public Library: A San Francisco Public Library card, free with proof of California residence, provides access to the entire San Francisco Public Library system, as well as free interlibrary loan. Books can be requested online and delivered to any branch library (the North Beach branch library is located just a few blocks from our Chestnut Street campus, at Columbus and Mason St.). An SFPL card also provides access to a wide variety of online databases, including JSTOR.
Berkeley Public Library: A Berkeley Public Library card, free with proof of California residence, provides access to the entire Berkeley Public Library system, as well as free interlibrary loan and access to Berkeley Public Library’s collection of online resources.
Oakland Public Library: An Oakland Public Library card, free with proof of California residence, provides access to the entire Oakland Public Library system, as well as inexpensive interlibrary loan and access to the Oakland Public Library’s collection of online resources.
Local University Libraries
UC Berkeley Library: Non-UC students may be granted access to the UC Berkeley library either by requesting a day pass or by purchasing a library card. Berkeley subscribes to an extensive collection of online databases, accessible to non-UC students from the Berkeley campus.
San Francisco State University Library: Purchasing a “friend of the library” card grants non-SF State students borrowing privileges, as well as on-campus access to SF State’s collection of online databases.
Local Museum Libraries
SFMOMA Library: SFMOMA’s library is a non-circulating research library, open to the public by appointment only. Its collection includes books and periodicals related to modern and contemporary art, as well as the museum’s own institutional archives.
Asian Art Museum Library:The Asian Art Museum’s Library is a non-circulating research library, open to the public by appointment only. Its collection includes books, periodicals, auction catalogs, photographs, and microforms on topics related to Asian art and culture.
Other Interesting Local Libraries
Prelinger Library: Founded in 2004 by Megan Shaw Prelinger and Rick Prelinger, the Prelinger Library is an appropriation-friendly, browsable collection of books, periodicals, printed ephemera, and government documents. Uncataloged and arranged by subject, the collection is organized to encourage serendipitous discovery. Although library materials are non-circulating, users are encouraged to photograph, copy, scan, or download digital books from the digital books collection.
The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture: Located by the botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park, The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture is Northern California’s largest horticultural library. Its collection of plant and garden-related books and periodicals covers all aspects of horticulture, including gardening, botanical art, ethnobotany, and pest management.
The Mechanics’ Institute Library: In addition to its general interest circulating collection, the Mechanics’ Institute Library subscribes to a number of print periodicals and online resources, and houses archival materials related to the history of the Mechanics’ Institute and general San Francisco history. Visitor day and week passes are available for purchase to non-members. student memberships are offered at discounted rates. The Mechanics’ Institute also hosts lectures and other events, as well as the oldest chess club in the United States.
Beyond the Bay Area
WorldCat: A quick and easy way to search the catalogs of thousands of libraries all over the world. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. WorldCat also allows you to search by location, making it easy to determine whether or not a local library has a copy of the book you’re searching for before you look farther afield.
The Library of Congress Digital Collections: A large and ever-expanding repository of digitized newspapers, photographs, manuscripts, sound recordings, motion pictures, and books. Topics covered include performing arts, religion and philosophy, veterans’ history, the history of journalism and advertising, and much more.
Calisphere: The digitized archival collections of the UC campuses and a variety of other cultural heritage organizations across California. These collections include photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts which reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.
Online Archive of California: Access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 150 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California, as well as collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses.