San Francisco’s Night Of Ideas, Free Discussion, Performances, Readings And Civic Fun

Great ideas are rare.

That was a famous line in a classic movie.

Fortunately for us that movie occurred well over 40 years ago and things, especially around San Francisco and the Silicon Valley have clearly changed for the better.

Much better.

Brilliant new ideas are constantly swirling around more often than the Pacific Coast winds.

Have your ever heard of the Night of Ideas? writer, photo via LSE

New and innovative ideas abound.

At they educate us. “Join us on February 2, 2019 when the San Francisco Public Library, SFMOMA, and the French Consulate in San Francisco unite to present a seven-hour marathon of debate, performance, readings and music featuring top thinkers from San Francisco and beyond as we envision the city of the future.

Inspired by our flagship programs, Public Knowledge and After Tomorrow, and supported by Friends of the Public Library, 836M and the City and County of San Francisco, Night of Ideas offers a free forum for debate, discussion and fun for all!”

Sounds intriguing, inspiring and just plain fun.

Here are some questions that are raised and discussed. Can our cities be community focused and globally connected while also smart, resilient, and infused with poetry and empathy? Through dialogue, how can we empower people of all ages, classes, and backgrounds? Is an innovative and inclusive city possible?

When there is free discussion and open minds, anything is possible.

What is also incredible about the event is how the San Francisco leadership attends and becomes involved as well. writer, Institut français de Finlande photo credit

The organization emanates from France and at their site they speak to that. “It will be a free seven-hour marathon of philosophical debate including cultural, science, climate and technology explorations alongside art, literature and poetry demonstrations and discussions. The mayor of San Francisco will kick it off, and KQED radio will broadcast the conversations. Famous French and San Francisco-based artists and thinkers will join and drive the discussions.”

They further explain that this is San Francisco’s first time participating in the Night of Ideas positioned as part of the After Tomorrow 2019 season.

The evening marathon began five years ago in Paris as La Nuit des Idées and has grown to more than 70 countries on five continents in 120 cities. Other participating U.S. cities are Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and Houston.

In the City by the Bay the tech industry, global businesses and the varied culture all work and mix together so it’s important that they cooperate to give a voice to having a civil society.

Mayor London Breed is very active in civil affairs and through her press releases speaks to many innovative ideas to improve San Francisco. The above event is supported by both the mayor and friends of the San Francisco Library and now there is an announcement that should make using the San Francisco library easier for all book lovers.

Please enjoy.

Mayor London Breed Announces the San Francisco Public Library Will Propose Eliminating Overdue Fines to Increase Library Access

Monday, January 14, 2019 writer, photo credit

Mayor London N. Breed today announced that the San Francisco Public Library will propose eliminating fines for overdue returns in order to reduce inequitable access to public resources.

The Library has partnered with the San Francisco Financial Justice Project in the Office of Treasurer José Cisneros to study the issue and interview libraries across the country who have gone “fine-free.” Their research found that fines are a barrier to equitable access of resources and services and disproportionately affect low-income San Franciscans. As libraries across the country are increasingly going fine-free, research shows that overdue fines are not an effective tool to encourage returns, and the fiscal impact of the move would be minimal.

“As a City, we need to make sure that we are not placing unnecessary burdens on people to access our public resources,” said Mayor Breed. “In this case, the fines and fees are overwhelmingly affecting people in our community from disadvantaged backgrounds, which undermines the goal of the Library and reinforces inequality in our City.”

The Library found that patrons across the City, regardless of income, miss return deadlines at similar rates. However, patrons in low-income areas face much more difficulty in paying the fines and fees associated with overdue items. As a result, overdue fines can widen existing inequalities. As an example, roughly 11 percent of the Bayview’s adult cardholders are blocked from accessing library materials, which is more than three times as many as in most high-income locations. Across the City, branches that serve lower-income populations have a greater share of blocked patrons.

“As the City’s debt collector, the research we conducted convinced me there are better tools to help people return books on time that don’t disproportionately burden low-income people and block people from accessing the library. San Francisco should join libraries across the country and eliminate overdue fines that disproportionately burden low-income people and communities of color,” said San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros.

Library fines generate approximately $330,000 in revenue each year, which represents 0.2 percent of the Library’s budget. This revenue is expected to continue to decrease over time, as digital and e-books become increasingly common. Several libraries that have gone fine-free reported that they spent more money to collect fines than they generated in revenue, and the move to eliminate fines freed up staff time to devote to more worthwhile activities.

“The Library is here for the people of San Francisco and we want everyone to be able to take advantage of our incredible collections and resources,” said Acting City Librarian Michael Lambert. “There has never been a better time for us to eliminate overdue fines and reaffirm that all are welcome at the library.”

None of the libraries surveyed that have gone fine-free saw a decrease in circulation or increase in late returns. Should the proposal be adopted, Library patrons will still be responsible for returning books on time. Patrons that do not return their books will still need to either replace, or pay for the value of, any materials not returned. The report also recommends several administrative changes to help increase the return rate, including sending out more reminders, and shortening the timeframe before a book needs to be replaced or paid for.

The recommendation to go fine-free follows recent efforts to reduce the amount of outstanding debt, and to reengage inactive patrons and recover materials. The Library has executed four amnesty periods over the last 20 years, and most recently worked with the Treasurer’s Bureau of Delinquent Revenue to run a collections campaign in 2018.

The report developed by The Financial Justice Project and the San Francisco Public Library is titled: “Long Overdue: Eliminating Fines on Overdue Materials to Improve Access to San Francisco Public Library.” The Library Commission will be hearing the proposal at their next meeting on Thursday.

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OPENING PHOTO photo via Frenchly 

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