Sunday, August 19, 2018

Library Selfies

Selfies...or it didn't happen.  So, selfies.


Step 1

Earlier this summer, I got a SF Public Library card, learned and took advantage of the interlibrary loan system and starting getting books from all these branches from across the city.   I was getting books from Anza, Golden Gate Valley and Park but wondered where these branches were.

Step 2
I was thinking about a summer project to take on as Onions was studying for his CPA exam and so we had some time where I was at home on summer break and couldn't travel (after our camping road trip) so I as thinking about riding each and every one of of SF Muni bus and rail lines from end to end to see different parts of the city.  There are some obscure bus lines (hello 54-Felton) that I see and wonder, where does that go?  But, it turns out there is some guy and his two kids doing it this summer and they are all over one of the websites here.

Step 3
Remember back in Beijing before the subway went to distance fare and you could ride all day for 2 RMB (33 cents) and so I decided to ride every one of the subway lines at least once and take a photo at a non-transfer stop?  Here's the link.

The Challenge
So how do I combine all this?  I decided to try and visit each and every one of the 28 branches of the SFPL in one day using only the SF Muni system.

Did I Succeed?
Yes.  13 hours.

What did I learn
• The branches come in three general architectural styles.  I'll call them A) WPA (from the WWII era, stone, grand, columns and some inspirational etchings carved along the wall.)  B) Mid-Century (low, one-story, with lots of space for playgrounds around them)  C) Modern (sleek, lots of glass and steel).
• All the branches are open at the same time each and every day.  So all the branches on this Friday that I did the challenge are open from 1-6PM
• The libraries are packed and used.  I went into them (during the 1-6PM part of the day) generally to use the bathroom (you know me) and the libraries were full of people.  I saw people returning items into the return box all day, checking out books and DVD's during the afternoon open hours.
• Do NOT complain about SF Muni.  The system works.  I never had to wait more than 15 minutes for the bus at any point and I could always get within 3 blocks of any library branch.
• The route maps at the bus stops have book icons to show the locations of the branches.
• I can't stick to a plan. I had mapped out the route I wanted to take.  For the first 75% of the day I only deviated once from the intended route.  However, once I got close to the finish line, I started improvising and I think added an hour or so to my day.

Number of Different Bus/Tram Lines Ridden: 16
Branch to Branch:  Walk: 2  Point-To-Point: 19  One Transfer: 7 (33 total segments)

Mean Wait Time: 3.6 Minutes  Shortest: 0 Minutes (8 times)   Longest: 15 Minutes

Mean Bus Ride Time: 10.3 Minutes  Shortest: 4 Minutes (3 Times)   Longest: 34 Minutes

Architectural Styles: WPA: 12   Mid-Century: 8    Modern: 8

Total Fare Paid: $17.50  (Clipper Card $2.50 x 7)

Total Spent on Food: $17.50

So in this first of two posts, I'll post pictures of the library branches themselves. The next post will be my selfie post!

Being the systematic person I am, I'll post info about the MUNI ride and then comment on the library itself in the picture caption.

FARE #1 ($2.50)
Start Location: Cortland And Mission
Time: 7:00 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 7:03 AM
Bus Line: 49 VanNess/Mission
End Location: McAllister and VanNess
Off Board Time: 7:23 AM

7:28 AM San Francisco Main Library (#1) at Civic Center.  We'll classify this as a modern style.

Start Location: Fulton and Larkin
Time: 7:31 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 7:31 AM
Bus Line: 19 Polk
End Location: Sacramento and Polk
Off Board Time: 7:41 AM
Start Location: Clay and Polk
Bus Arrival Time: 7:43 AM
Bus Line: 1 California
End Location: Clay and Powell
Off Board Time: 7:49 AM
7:52 AM Chinatown Branch (#2).  Clearly one of the WPA style libraries.  What I found amazing is the number of branches like Chinatown's, that are right in the middle of a row of houses on a residential block. 

Chinatown Branch to North Beach Branch was about a 10-minute walk.

8:08 AM North Beach Branch (#3). From this angle (note that it's built on a corner parcel lot) I thought it was a mid-century style building.

But from the front, it's clearly a modern style.  I say that because of the floor to ceiling windows there on the left side.  Architecture experts, convince me otherwise.
First Bathroom Break, so I spent $4.50 on a croissant at a cafe to have access to their facilities.
Start Location: Union and Mason
Time: 8:25 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 8:27 AM
Bus Line: 45 Union/Stockton
End Location: Union and Laguna
Off Board Time: 8:34 AM
8:38 AM Golden Gate Valley Branch (#4)

Score one for the WPA style.  Also, you will see that many of the branches have nice tress in front of them.  Many of my pictures don't allow for a full view of the building because of the "urban forest."
 Golden Gate Valley Branch (Cow Hollow) to Marina Branch was a 15-minute walk.

8:58 AM Marina Branch (#5) appears to be our first mid-century style branch.  The give-away?  Red Brick.

FARE #2 (The time on the original 7AM fare expired so I paid a new fare)
Start Location: Lombard and Fillmore
Time: 9:05 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 9:09 AM
Bus Line: 43 Masonic
End Location: Clay and Presidio
Off Board Time: 9:23 AM
9:27 AM Presidio Branch (#6)

Start Location: California and Presidio
Time: 9:36 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 9:42 AM
Bus Line: 43 Masonic
End Location: Haight and Cole
Off Board Time: 9:55 AM

9:58 AM Park Branch (#7)  WPA style, but the branch that was the narrowest.  Unlike many of the other WPA style that appeared to be "double-wide," the Park Branch was approximately the same width as those buildings around it.

The Park Branch was the only branch that didn't have it's name carved into the stone nor have a sign. Above the door is etched "Branch No. 5" The only way to know it's called Park is to read the plaque.

Start Location: Haight and Cole
Time: 10:03 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 10:07 AM
Bus Line: 43 Masonic
End Location: Geary and Masonic
Off Board Time: 10:16 AM
Start Location: Geary and Masonic
Bus Arrival Time: 10:21 AM
Bus Line: 38 Geary
End Location: Geary and Scott
Off Board Time: 10:26 AM

10:27AM Western Addition Branch (#8)

Score one for the 1950's architecture!

Start Location: Geary and Scott
Time: 10:31AM
Bus Arrival Time: 10:35AM
Bus Line: 38 Geary
End Location: Geary and 9th Avenue
Off Board Time: 10:46 AM
10:48 AM Richmond Branch (#9).  This is a WPA style branch but one of the few that sits of a massive lot that allows for open space around the building.
How cool is this bike rack?

There's a walkway from the front to the back.  Note the huge lawn and playground to the left. Many of these WPA style branches have been renovated and expanded.

Hungry at the point, so spent $1 on a piece of sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery
Start Location: Geary and 9th Avenue
Time: 10:59 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 10:59 AM
Bus Line: 38 Geary
End Location: Geary and 36th Avenue
Off Board Time: 11:20 AM

11:23 AM Anza Branch (#10) in the Outer Richmond.  At this point, I'm at the furthest most NE of the 28 branches.

Start Location: Geary and 36th Avenue
Time:  11:25 AM
Bus Arrival Time: 11:27 AM
Bus Line: 38 Geary
End Location: Geary and 25th Avenue
Off Board Time: 11:31 AM
Start Location: Geary and 25th Avenue
Bus Arrival Time: 11:38 AM
Bus Line: 29 Sunset
End Location: Lincoln and 19th Avenue
Off Board Time: 11:47 AM

11:55 AM Sunset Branch (#11).  At this point, I had finished with the entire Northern half of the city.  Moving across Golden Gate Park, the next group of branches are the ones on the southwest side.

Start Location: Lincoln and 19th Avenue
Time: 12:03 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 12:14 PM
Bus Line: 29 Sunset
End Location: Ortega and Sunset
Off Board Time: 12:23 PM
12:26 PM Ortega Branch (#12).  This was one of the tougher ones to classify.  Everything and instincts scream mid-century style.  But the diagonal roof gives it a modern feel.  But what tips it into the mid-century style, for me, is that boxy white brick portion on the left.  Maybe it's been renovated?

Start Location: Ortega and Sunset
Time:  12:32 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 12:32 PM
Bus Line: 29 Sunset
End Location: Taraval and Sunset
Off Board Time: 12:38 PM
Start Location: Taraval and Sunset
Bus Arrival Time: 12:40 PM
Bus Line: L Taraval (Bus instead of Tram because of Twin Peaks Tunnel Upgrades)
End Location: Taraval and 23rd Avenue
Off Board Time: 12:44 PM

12:44 PM Parkside Branch (#13)

Architectural style?  No question.
Start Location: Taraval and 23th Avenue
Time: 12:48 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 12:48 PM
Bus Line: L Taraval (Bus)
End Location: Taraval and Wawona (Substitute for West Portal Station)
Off Board Time: 12:56 PM
1:00 PM West Portal Branch (#14).  We've hit the halfway point.

Lunch at Calibur Burger on West Portal Avenue ($10.50).
Start Location: Portola and Vicente Avenue
Time: 1:39 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 1:39 PM
Bus Line: M Oceanview (Bus substitution)
End Location: Winston and 19th Avenue
Off Board Time: 1:49 PM

1:50 PM Merced Branch (#15) right across from Stonestown Mall.

Much of the Sunset District was built in the 1950's so it makes sense that the libraries reflect that style.

Start Location: Winston and 19th Avenue
Time: 1:55 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 1:58 PM
Bus Line: M Oceanview (Bus substitution)
End Location: Randolph and Arch
Off Board Time: 2:04 PM

2:05 PM Ocean View Branch (#16).  Clearly not WPA style.  But there's no way the modern building would have rounded windows.  So, by default, I'm going to categorize as mid-century, although not in the traditional sense.

I told the librarian what I was doing and she was really excited.  I'll have to forward this blog post to her.

Start Location: Randolph and Arch
Time:  2:11 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 2:11 PM
Bus Line: M Oceanview (Bus substitution)
End Location: Balboa Park Station
Off Board Time: 2:18 PM
Start Location: Balboa Park Station
Bus Arrival Time: 2:25 PM
Bus Line: 8 Bayshore
End Location: City College (Ocean and Phelan)
Off Board Time: 2:30 PM

2:35 PM Ingleside Branch (#17)

This is the branch closest to LWHS (where I work) and so I know that the Ingleside Branch is right next to a huge new complex of condos that has a Whole Foods.  I'm betting that a renovated modern library was part of the development process.  Another sign of modern style?  Those white horizontal slats on the left.  But remember, I'm doing all this categorization on feel and instinct.

Start Location: City College (Ocean and Phelan)
Time: 2:45 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 2:48 PM
Bus Line: 8 Bayshore
End Location: Sunnydale and Cora
Off Board Time: 3:11 PM

3:16 PM Visitation Valley Branch (#18)  At this point, I'm now at the branch in the furthest SE corner of the city.

This looks more Mission style than anything else, but it clearly doesn't fit into the modern or mid-century so I'll classify as WPA.
Start Location: Sunnydale and Rutland
Time: 3:20 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 3:28 PM
Bus Line: 8 Bayshore
End Location: Bacon and San Bruno
Off Board Time: 3:40 PM
3:43 PM Portola Branch (#19)

Start Location: Bacon and Goettingen
Time:  3:48 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 3:48 PM
Bus Line: 54 Felton
End Location: Felton and University
Off Board Time: 3:55 PM
Start Location: Silver and Princeton
Bus Line: 44 O'Shaughnessy
End Location: Silver and Mission
Off Board Time: 4:20 PM

4:25 Excelsior Branch (#20).  So I pass by this branch on the bus to and from school every day.

This is actually view from the side street.  The side facing Mission Street is much more clear in showing it's mid-century style.

Start Location: Silver and Mission
Time: 4:32 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 4:35 PM
Bus Line: 44 O'Shaughnessy
End Location: Bosworth and Diamond
Off Board Time: 4:40 PM
4:41 Glen Park Branch (#21).  Modern.  For those of you might think this is familiar sounding name, it was at this branch that they arrested the guy who ran/started the darkweb site called "Silk Road."

Start Location: Wilder and Diamond
Time: 4:46 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 4:46 PM
Bus Line: 35 Eureka
End Location: Market and Castro
Off Board Time: 5:04 PM
5:11 PM Eureka Valley Branch (#22)

Score one for the 1950's
Start Location: Market and Castro
Time: 5:22 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 5:22 PM
Bus Line: 24 Divisadero
End Location: 24th Street and Castro
Off Board Time: 5:28 PM

5:30 PM Noe Valley Branch (#23)
Sustenance Needed....It's It Ice Cream Sandwich $1.50
Start Location: 24th Street and Castro
Time: 5:39 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 5:40 PM
Bus Line: 48 Quintara
End Location: 24th Street and Valencia
Off Board Time: 5:44 PM
5:45 PM Mission Branch (#24)

Start Location: 24th Street and Mission
Time:  5:49 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 5:58 PM
Bus Line: 48 Quintara
End Location: 24th Street and Potrero
Off Board Time: 6:06 PM
Start Location: 24th Street and Potrero
Bus Line: 10 Townsend
End Location: Arkansas and 20th Street
Off Board Time: 6:18 PM

6:19 PM Potrero Branch Library (#25)

Look at all that glass on the box.

Start Location: Arkansas and 20th Street
Time: 6:25 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 6:38 PM
Bus Line: 10 Townsend
End Location: Townsend and 4th Street (Caltrain Station)
Off Board Time: 6:47 PM

6:52 PM Mission Bay Branch (#26)  Clearly this is the newest addition to the library system.  Mission Bay as a neighborhood didn't exist when I moved to San Francisco in 1998.
Start Location: King and 4th Street
Time: 6:57 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 7:00 PM
Bus Line: T Third
End Location: Revere and 3rd Street
Off Board Time: 7:34 PM

7:34 PM Bayview Branch (#27)  It's getting dark...and one more to go.

No mid-century brick would would be multi-colored, so I'm putting it into the modern group.

Start Location: Palou and 3rd Street
Time: 7:40 PM
Bus Arrival Time: 7:45 PM
Bus Line: 24 Divisadero
End Location: Cortland and Andover
Off Board Time: 7:53 PM

7:53 PM.  Where it all started, my home branch Bernal Heights (#28)

WPA style.  As you can see, the street lights are on, but I made it with some daylight left.  From here it was a 5 minute walk home...dinner with Onions and a long soak in the tub.