Berkeley Public Library Foundation

Berkeley Public Library Foundation


The 2016 hit film Captain Fantastic has won multiple awards at film festivals around the world. Berkeley-based director, Matt Ross, won the award for Best Director and a ten minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival and, as of this writing, the film has pending nominations for the prestigious Screen Actors Guild awards, as well as the Golden Globes.  His film tells the story of a widowed father, played by Viggo Mortensen, raising his six children in the wilderness of western Washington after their mother’s death. Ross has said that the idea for the film arose as he and his wife questioned the decisions they were making in raising their own children in Berkeley.   Matt Ross will join us for a pre-screening reception and a talk with the audience after the showing of his prize-winning film.

The event will be held at the cutting-edge Meyer Sound Pearson Theater, a sensory environment that redefines the concept of what a theatre can be. Prior to the screening there will be light refreshments, featuring delicacies from Grace Street Catering.

Thursday, May 4th at 6:30 pm

copy-of-quirkyberkeleyTom Dalzell is back to lead another AfterWORDS walking tour, this time focusing on all that is quirky on Berkeley’s South Side.  Last year’s tour of the North Side was fun and informative, and this year more of the same awaits all who join this group!  The group will meet at Adeline and Emerson, and from there will branch out along the Ashby corridor, ending at The Beanery on College Avenue.  At The Beanery you can rest your feet and enjoy the camaraderie of the group as well as a cup of tea and a sweet treat.  No matter how long you’ve lived in Berkeley, it’s guaranteed that you will see something quirky and new on this tour!

Participants should wear comfortable shoes and be capable of walking 2-3 miles/2 hours.  The tour is appropriate for children who have the stamina for a walk of this nature.

Sunday, April 23rd at 3:00pm

enotecaJoin us on a Sunday afternoon for a tasting of regional Italian wines and cheeses.  Joe Madison, proprietor of Enoteca Molinari, with arguably the best all-Italian wine list in the East Bay, will be pouring regional wines while Berkeley’s best cheese monger, The Cheese Board, slices delectable offerings from around Italy.  Copies of The Cheese Board: Collective Works will be available at a reduced price to all who attend. We promise a delicious afternoon!

Sunday, March 19 from 2:00 to 5:00 pm


copy-of-leah-garchikIn keeping with traditions begun by a succession of well-loved Chronicle columnists, Leah Garchik interprets life in San Francisco in her popular daily column. Although she describes herself as a terrible accordion player, Leah Garchik is indeed a woman of many talents – author, reviewer, editor, columnist. It’s hard to imagine a more engaging luncheon companion, and what better place to hear all about life in the City than at Town Hall Restaurant.  There’s always lots of energy in the air at Town Hall, which since 2003 has been serving up Southern-inflected American cuisine in SOMA’s historic Meco building. It’s the perfect setting for this lively lunch with one of San Francisco’s liveliest personalities.

Date to be arranged with Ms. Garchik.
Event for 5 + Host Leah Garchik

copy-of-dream_carson_newsOne of our honored authors of 2014, Stanford historian Clayborne Carson returns in 2017 for a reprise of his fascinating and intimate look at the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the twentieth century’s towering civil rights leader.  This is a special invitation from Prof. Carson to tour the King Papers Institute with him, then dine at the Stanford Faculty Club for more discussion over lunch.

Professor Carson has had a lifelong interest in the civil rights movement. In 1963 at the age of 19, he participated in the historic March on Washington, where his nascent passion was further ignited. He has devoted his career to studying and writing about civil rights and Dr. King.  In 1985 Professor Carson was selected by the late Coretta Scott King to be the editor and publisher of her husband’s papers. The work has continued under Prof. Carson’s leadership at The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University, where he continues to work and teach.

Date to be arranged with Mr. Carson.

Event for 4 + Mr. Carson

copy-of-wizardofozThe best-loved American children’s fantasy, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, expanded the concept and design of children’s books in America when it first appeared in 1900. The author, L. Frank Baum, was just finding his stride as a writer of children’s books, and the illustrator, W. W. Denslow, worked closely with him to create a book so lavishly produced that it would become an instant bestseller. Baum specialist Peter E. Hanff will share his lifelong passion for Baum and Oz in an illustrated presentation that will show off the remarkable design and production of a book that transformed the American concept of how children’s books should look.  The Central Library’s Fireside Room will provide the perfect setting for this stimulating afternoon.

Sunday, March 26, 1:30 pm


chez-panisseAnnie Barrows has been honored at the Authors Dinner twice, first in 2009 for the international bestseller The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which she co-wrote with her aunt.  Returning last year, she was celebrated for her second adult novel, The Truth According to Us. She is, however, also well known for her children’s series featuring Ivy and Bean.  Those who had the good fortune to sit with her at these events already know that Annie is as delightful in person as she is in print.  She’s a lifelong lover of the library, where she spent so much time as a child they finally hired her to shelve books.  She attended UC Berkeley and lives here still – a community treasure, much like your dinner host, Chez Panisse Café.  Enjoy a special evening featuring convivial company, spirited conversation and delicious food featuring local, organic ingredients for which Chez Panisse is famous. 

Date and time to be arranged with Ms. Barrows. Event for 4+ Ms. Barrows & Guest

copy-of-tupperreed_pchang-15-0-0For fans of mystery writing, this event is a rare and exciting opportunity!  Award-winning local mystery writers Cara Black, Joe Clifford and Terry Shames will be joining forces for a spirited discussion of the importance of place in their writing and how they create the unique and vibrant environments that bring their stories to life.  While all three do their writing locally, their books are set in places as far-flung as Texas (Terry), New Hampshire (Joe) and Paris (Cara).  How do they make these distant locales so real?  Come on down to Tupper & Reed and find out.  Although you might remember Tupper & Reed as a music store, the quaint, 100+ year old building is now a classy place to sip cocktails.  We’ll be serving up a light supper from Phil’s Sliders in a mysterious private room on the second floor. How perfect!

Thursday, April 20th at 6:30 pm

poetry3-25ebl11As a culmination to National Poetry Month, join us on April 30 for a poetry salon at Longbranch, guaranteed to inspire and delight!

Rachel Richardson will emcee a showcase of four local poets, two of them Poets Laureate of our neighboring cities El Cerrito and Albany. Chiyuma Elliott, Rebecca Black, Maw Shein Win, and Matt Shears will read from new original work celebrating life and language in our complex and challenging time.


This intimate event will include further inspirations and fortifications, such as light appetizers and drink, a chance to talk with the poets about their work, and time for book signing.

Sunday, April 30th at 3:00 pm

copy-of-deyoeIs it possible to be a conscientious citizen of the world and grow wealth? Author Jonathan DeYoe, a Buddhist and a financial planner, says yes and explains exactly how in his new book, Mindful Money. Mr. DeYoe will read from his book and discuss how to save, invest, pay off debt, fund your retirement, and create a financial plan guided by your deepest beliefs, no matter your income level or spiritual perspective. As the author emphasizes in Mindful Money, money is merely a tool you can utilize to support your lifestyle, reach your goals, and earn “the happiness dividend” we all deserve.

This event will take place in the Community Room of the library’s internationally recognized West Branch, the first Zero Net Energy public library in California. Enjoy a glass of wine at the presentation’s end.

Wednesday, May 10, 7:00 – 8:30 pm

copy-of-tamim-ansaryTamim Ansary was born in Kabul and lived there until high school, when he won a scholarship to Colorado Rocky Mountain School, an American boarding school.  Thus began his bicultural journey that has engendered several acclaimed books, including West of Kabul, East of New York and Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes.  In addition, for 22 years Mr. Ansary directed the San Francisco Writers Workshop, hoping to give back to younger writers what was given to him when young.

This 2 ½ hour workshop is a special opportunity for people interested in writing a memoir or short, memoir-based pieces.  You will discuss how to get started, keep the words flowing, zero in on a story and rediscover the forgotten.  Your host for the afternoon will be the Berkeley City Club, Julia Morgan’s serene and beautiful masterpiece.

Saturday, April  15th from 2:00 – 4:30 pm

 This is your chance to explore San Francisco’s Privately Owned Public Open Spaces (POPOS) with the SF Chronicle’s award-winning Urban Design Critic, John King.  From hidden nooks to rooftop perches, you will be guided through some of the city’s most unusual spaces and unique vantage points, along the way hearing the backstories on how they came to be.  No doubt your group will work up an appetite on this wonderful walking tour, but fear not – your outing will conclude with an elegant lunch at Boulevard, one of San Francisco’s landmark restaurants located in the historic Audiffred Building.  

Date and time to be arranged with Mr. King.
Event for 6 + John King