All posts by Fabiola Hernandez-Soto

Gleeson April Action

On Wednesday, April 19th and Thursday, April 27th Gleeson Library participated in its second community outreach event. Staff from different departments joined to take part in Gleeson’s April Action at St. Anthony’s. There were a few hiccups along the way but the staff at St. Anthony’s were very accommodating and kind with everyone who participated.

St. Anthony’s is located in the heart of the Tenderloin, neighboring the hustle and bustle of Market Street. Opening its doors to the St. Anthony’s Dining Room on October 4, 1950 by Franciscan Friar Fr. Alfred Boeddeker, the dining room was expected to serve 150 meals to low-income and homeless guest. On its first day, St. Anthony’s Dining Room ended up serving 400 meals.

“Today, we continue to thrive on serving hope daily and providing essential support to our Guests in need. We bring people together in this work because we know it takes a community to break down barriers and create a society where all people flourish. Find out how you can help.” —

Franciscan Friars continue to play a vital role in the organization to promote justice, peace, and helping those in poverty. A lot of the work that St. Anthony’s provides runs on the help of volunteers and donations. The organization has expanded to include Health Care services, a Free Clothing Program, Addiction Recovery assistance, Technology Access & Training, and even Social Work.

Our Gleeson volunteer groups participated in their Free Clothing Program. Clothing donations are dropped off daily, 10 AM – 2 PM. Everything goes through three sorting processes, before garments and accessories are place in the store front. The second floor of the 150 Golden Gate Avenue building houses the store front and the back room where the sorting takes place.

Volunteers go through all donated material, sorting each piece into bins with labels such as “Women,” “Men,” “Children,” and “Outer Wear.” They are then sorted into more general categories, before being prepped on hangers to make a debut.  Anything that doesn’t make these selections are tossed into a green bin for recycling. The great part about St. Anthony’s is that nothing goes to waste. All recycled items are re-purposed giving it a new life perhaps as a kitchen towel. The best way of deciding whether something is store worthy was nicely put by our staff guide, Sophie, stating that “If it is something that you wouldn’t want to give to a friend or loved one, it doesn’t go out to the store for our guests.”

Both Gleeson Library groups helped out front in the store, assisting guests in finding sizes, styles or certain garments that weren’t on the clothing racks. Guest arrive based on their time appointment. During their appointment guests shop and choose the items that they want. There is a daily board that lists how the number of certain garments that guests are allotted. The Free Clothing Program provides each guests with 30 outfits. As volunteers we provide each guest with the “shopper experience” that will give a positive and dignified shopping experience to all guests, regardless of where they come from.

Anxious with the familiar feeling of knots in my stomach, I found myself on the store floor relying on my previous retail experience to calm my nerves. My first interaction was with a woman looking for a pair of shorts. I inquired if she preferred a certain color, cut or style before I dashed off to the back where the extra clothes were kept. As I searched I was unable to find any women’s shorts among the racks. I return with the bad news and although I wasn’t able to fulfill the customers request they were very understanding and grateful that I tried. She continued to browse through the clothes and find something else. Another customer who I remember more vividly was looking through the assortment of dresses. She asked for my opinion on whether to choose a solid color dress or a floral pattern. That day I was wearing a floral shirt myself, so I mentioned that perhaps I would be biased but ask what were her typical wardrobe choices and built worked from there. She was very happy to find so many options in her size.

Not only are we making a difference in their lives but we are changing our own through our compassion and our actions. Change can begin with one person. We may not always know what a person may be going through or how they got to where they are in their life, but no matter what we are all people.

“St. Anthony’s provides fantastic services that place an emphasis on the dignity of individuals. Volunteering with them is a truly rewarding experience.” – Anders

“I really loved the personal interactions with the people I was helping.  I was really moved when I was given a big hug for finding a woman a comb that would work for her hair and I felt joy with the fellow who yelled “I love these!” when I brought out a pair of very bright green tennis shoes.” – Matt

“I am grateful for the opportunity to interact with each customer as an individual. Beyond the basic necessities, their unique needs were instructive — for example, reading glasses or a bathrobe — and trying to meet them was enlightening.” – Justine


Furriends For Finals Begins This Week!

Four days of puppy love, because one day is not enough. Each session runs from 1 PM – 3 PM here at Gleeson Library | Geschke Center, 1st Floor Lobby. In between studying and final exams take a breather with us. Our SPCA friends will be here with their trained therapy dogs just for you.

If you’d like to learn more about SPCA AAT or how to volunteer, click here.

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What is your Vision?

Forget about those resolutions that never stick! This year put into motion your goals with the help of  a vision board! Vision boards are a great tool to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on what you want to achieve.

You’ve never created a vision board before? No problem! We have provided quick instructions on how to visualize your vision.

Your goals can be on any of the following: career, personal growth, relationships, travel, health, or what ever else you want to change, build, or grow. Visualize, plan, and implement but above all never falter in positivity.

Add to the collective Vision Board or create your own. We’ve got the supplies, you take the first step.


Get Out There and Vote!

Voting season is here and Gleeson has you covered! It’s that time when we are confronted by every media outlet. Radio, television and pamphlets are all telling us to vote yes or no on “X” proposition.  Don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed; we are here to make this important time of the year easier for you to cast your vote.

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Come be part of our informative and interactive display, helping you make a difference in our nation and Bay Area. On November 3rd we will have a mini-exhibition on the Woman’s Suffrage Movement (1848-1920) curated by our amazing Rare Books Librarian, John Hawk. This wonderful mini-exhibition is part of the CRASE Presidential Election event that will take place in the Gleeson Atrium. RSVP is required to attend the event.

Exercise your Fifteenth Amendment and, ladies, your Nineteenth Amendment. Make your vote count!

The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the federal and state governments from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”

The Constitution was later ratified adding the Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth and concluding with the Twenty-sixth Amendment, lowering the voting age to 18 years old.

Take away a better understanding on each proposition and how it affects San Francisco and California.

Don’t feel lost at the polls, we’ve got wonderful coloring bookmarks with a score card on the back that you can take to your poll station and breeze through your ballot.