Remember back in 2008 when SFPL tried to make it cool to carry a library card? Well, those book lovers are at it again, with five brand new designs thanks to the most recent winners of the SFPL library card art contest.

All 27 libraries in the city started offering the new cards on Monday, which have designs ranging from butterflies atop a book to a watercolor fox reading under a tree. They’re all available — for free — from now until Valentine’s Day, so you can surprise your sweetheart with a new library card or finally pick up that Dating for Dummies book you’ve been eying.

The contest was held in September and October of 2012, so these cards have been a long time coming. Over 3,500 designs were submitted and well over 14,000 SFians voted and commented on their favorite possibilities.

Of course, those of you unappreciative of art or trying to invoke a mediocre renaissance can still pick up the “classic” (read: boring) SFPL library card, complete with literally no pizzazz or distinction from any other card in your wallet, except maybe your driver’s license (unless you happen to resemble a nautilus).

Prove to the world that you actually are, in fact, literate by posting Instagram and Twitter photos of your card to @sfpubliclibrary with the #lovemylibrary hashtag.

For more info on the cards and how to get them, visit SFPL’s website at

the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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  • Able_Dart

    Maybe they could make a scratch-n-sniff card that smells like urine.

  • SteveofSF

    What a waste of money. But what do you expect in wealthy SF? Any initiative promoting the library automatically passes, and bureaucrats need to find something to do with their fortune.

  • Bookworm

    The San Francisco Public Library is amazing! I find it sad that people hate the library so much and accuse it of liberal elitism, when many of the library’s workers can’t afford to live in SF and come in to work everyday because they understand how important libraries are in the spread of knowledge and acceptance. The library has hundreds of programs that reach out to under served youth and communities, and is actually one of the few places that does not discriminate based on whether or not people have money. Part of the reason SF is such and amazing city is because of its library, because books are about knowledge and learning, not judgment. Maybe, SteveofSF and Able_Dart, you criticize the library because you are ignorant because you don’t spend enough time reading books, especially books from the library.