SF/Mitchell Library Project

The idea behind these photos is to highlight those who goes to the library in the 21st, focusing specifically at the SF Public Library and Palo Alto Mitchell Library. In order to capture the experience and showcase the individuals, a 4x5 view camera was used to capture portraits of the people who frequent either library. Initially, the project was conceived as a series of more formal portraits. However, as the project developed, a more casual form of wandering the library and the local area shooting the individuals became the focus. Dialogue and discussion took center stage and led to the 6 photo series that captured the modern library goer in the Bay Area



“I like it it's very nice…nicest one in Palo Alto, but it hasn't done anything, it just replaced one. It just replaced it. It’s more of a size kind of impact rather then something more substantial. I come here primarily for the movies. My wife comes for the movies too, but also books. They have hardcover and e-books, but it’s much better to get a movie. Here though, the disadvantage is the ease of getting movies. It is much easier at the main library. The titles are not high enough, as the orientation of displays was meant for kids. When you are small you just get down to the floor and who cares, but someone my age it doesn’t work”


“I mean, I don't know, speaking as an employee issue or professional, it's been a real fun engaging destination. We now have the special needs park and Ada's cafe. It really fills up the community. It's the busiest library Palo Alto has ever, and South Palo Alto has always had the same kind of demographics. There is more programming now, especially an emphasis on bilingual time.”


“I come to the library at least once a week. I’ve been living in the city since 2012. Well I would say that all libraries to some extent are good, this one in particular offers services and resources that most people wouldn't otherwise have… and there wouldn't be much in SF to do without it. There is more of a sense of community in libraries here than other cities…with lots of programs individuals participate in. I am from Milwaukee, which has a great library system; downtown library is 4-5 times this size and more resources, bigger selection of books. Chicago is 20 times that…but I like the library here. But recently there are meetings how to deter homeless people. I am a newcomer but it doesn’t seem right.


“I came to buy books today. I am here routinely. Currently am homeless and so I come here to work on getting a job. Currently at a community college working on a degree, and the library here gives me access to the computer and books. Do lots of job research…but getting back to San Francisco itself. I wasn’t born here, but this is a beautiful city with beautiful people. It is a city of change in my mind…always evolving”


“This is a spot where homeless people come to take a break. People also come here to steal from people who are passed out. Only from 11pm - 7am are we allowed to sit in the sidewalk. All of San Francisco if you have a tent out past 7am you will get a ticket. No sitting on the sidewalk. We have a love hate community with each other. Everyone steals from each other. Its really a game. If you get caught sleeping you get stuff stolen. Honestly, you should watch your shit better."