It is finally somewhat warm today in San Francisco. As many people know thanks to the  Mark Twain quote, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco”, this town gets cold.   Well, it gets ridiculously cold here in the summer, especially in the months of July and August.  When the weather gets miserable I often ride my bike or walk to one of the many beautifully restored pubic libraries.  My favorites are in Noe Valley, the Mission, and of course the Main Branch by Market Street and City Hall. I love wandering around the buildings, getting lost in the stacks, watching people read, study or just work quietly. The architecture is amazing full of details, marble stairs, and big windows.  I especially like looking out the windows when it’s windy and rainy in SF.  When the weather gets really bad the libraries get pretty crowded…with homeless people.

One of the things I first noticed in San Francisco is the amount of homeless people that dwell inside and around the Main Branch.  I’ve never seen that many people be allowed to just congregate inside a public building before. It seems to me that it’s one of the last refuges in my city for them. The librarians treat them with dignity and compassion.  It seems to me that the public librarians role has expanded to also include social worker…

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