The Mission District branch.

Getting out of the cold-SFPL  1 – 7-11 to 1-13-11

Hey Kids! is a weekly feature looking at what’s coming up for families and kids of all ages.

OMG!!! I have a new BFF!!! I HEART SFPL!!!

Let me explain…

It has been so cold, I have been forgetting the balm that 7 years ago smiled across the nation to lure me away from the climate challenged wonderland that is Manhattan. I cannot be outside in this weather no matter how many bundles I layer on, and all to the detriment of the perpetual middle season fashion style I created for my SF life.

Between the uncooperative temperatures and the long school break that just came to end early this week, the hunt for engaging indoor fun has been on to a hilt. And that’s how I finally came to fully understand what an amazing resource the public libraries are. I have been obsessed with our libraries: I have bookmarked all my neighboring branches and I was on the phone with the folks at Excelsior for 20 minutes today-a few of them on hold, granted.

Did you know that they help children with homework? Seniors with tech savviness? College applicants with their SAT’s? Immigrants with naturalization preparation?  In the City’s Libraries there are origami and chess clubs to join, films to watch, laptops to borrow, programs for food fans,  concerts for music lovers, not to mention the rows and rows of books to read  for all ages and in many languages. And have you checked out their Green Stacks program? Amazing.

So, if you have a child, in any age range, get out of the chill this weekend and into the libraries and keep this extraordinary community resource going. By the way, if you don’t have one already, this is how to get a library card.

Below you will find my picks of event at area libraries for the week. You can also consult a full event index, which includes all branches and please note that all the events are free.

Babies at the Library
Baby Rhyme and Playtime is a program for the really tiny ones, those up to 18 months with their caregivers. The fun lasts up to an hour and most branches offer it, some even more than once a week. In the area, take your baby to the Mission Branch on Mondays from 1:15 p. m to 2:15 p.m. Tuesdays are at Potrero Hill from 1:15 p. m. to 1:45 p.m. and from 1:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays head to Bernal Heights

For Toddlers and Preschoolers
Discover the newly renovated West Portal Library this Saturday with your toddlers and preschoolers for some fun crafting. The Craft for Kids workshop lasts from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Family stories are meant for kids of all ages, though toddlers and preschoolers seem to enjoy them most. Excelsior holds theirs every Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

On Tuesday mornings Eureka Valley hosts the 18 to 36 months with Toddler Tales. It starts at 10:30 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m.

A Community for Kids and Teenagers
This afternoon, Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium in the Main Library, the movie “My Journey Home” by Andrew Lam will be screened. Suitable for older middle and high schoolers, the film is a chronicle of Lam’s immigrant experience from Vietnam to the US and his quest to return home and find his roots.

Bernal Heights welcomes the Origami Club for origami fiends of all ages and skill levels on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Don’t forget to bring your own paper.

Now, this is really cool: making sound instruments from recyclables. The folks at Eureka Valley will welcome 6-12 year old children this Saturday and engage them from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in what “sounds” like a delightful activity.

At the Excelsior, seniors can get help becoming tech savvy from teenagers on Saturday afternoons from 3:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. This is a great volunteering opportunity for older children, which, among other things, can give them community service credits they might need for their school work or college application. Contact Marla Bergman at 415-355-2832 for details. By the way, homework help for younger children, a service offered by many branches, is also staffed by teenage volunteers and also gives community service credits.

And for those college applicants, the first 90minutes of a 3-hours SAT’s Intensive Workshop will take place at Glen Park Library this Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 530 p.m. The course “covers 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”.

After school this Monday from 4 p.m. to 530 p.m., kids 12 to 18 year old can have Felt Pin Fun at the Mission Library, making skulls, flowers, lucha libre heroes, animals. For more information, contact

Elsewhere, but Still Indoors
You can still stave off the cold and let your children work off some energy by popping in at Paxton Gate on Valencia at 19th Street this Saturday afternoon for a piñata party. The fun is free and goes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This Saturday’s Family Art Program at the De Young focuses on Cool Clay Art from South of the Border. The activity, geared to children between 8 and 12 years of age, goes from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is included in the museum admission, which is $10 for adults and free for children 12 and under.

Lastly, only two weekends are left to catch Lemony Snicket’s The Composer is Dead at Berkeley Rep. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is truly worth a hop on BART. The train will leave you half a block away from the entrance to the theatre. Performances are at 2 p.m and 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. and 7p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from $36 to $54 and anybody under 30 gets 50% off.

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A native Italian, US-based professional with 30 years of multifaceted experience in the field of Italian food, Viola transitioned to teaching 10 years ago, with the goal of getting home cooks to gather daily around the stove and table. She believes that from our kitchens, we can make the world a better place. By cooking good food at the intersection of Italian table culture and local agriculture, she teaches people to enjoy and value good food, and understand its critical role to the overall well being of our communities. For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities go to her website.
For more details on registering for Viola’s classes and other food-related activities click here.

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