A privately-funded public library in San Francisco, the Prelinger was founded in 2004 and is operated by Rick Prelinger and his wife, Megan Shaw Prelinger. Together, they've collected more than 50,000 books, periodicals, and other pieces of printed material. Working to bridge the divide between analog and digital, the Prelingers also offer about 4,000 e-books.
Inspired in part by London's Warburg Institute Library, Megan Prelinger built a custom system for organizing the library's collection. Intended to facilitate and emphasize browsing, Megan's system keeps Suburbia next to Domestic Environments and Architecture, which moves into a Graphic Design section. Graphic Design then moves into the library's Typography, Fine Arts, and Advertising sections. There are no card catalogs and printed materials aren't arranged using the Dewey Decimal system like traditional libraries.
Because of the unique cataloging system, the Prelinger Library has been described as serendipitous. It emphasizes the experience of discovering new things. Breaking the mold in another way, the Prelinger couple describe their library as "appropriation-friendly:" Users are encouraged to reuse images and text from the collection in their own projects.
Join us at the Prelinger this Obscura Day for tea, refreshments and a guided exploration of the library's collections.
Saturday, May 30; 11:00am - 12:00pm
Ticket price includes tea, refreshments and an in-depth orientation of the the library's stacks.
The Prelinger Library
301 8th Street, Room 215
San Francisco, CA 94103