Upcoming Events


In the Library: The Work of Eric Gill
June 6, 2015, 5-7 pm

Space is limited. RSVP to programs@bccbooks.org.


The Hidden Waters of San Francisco.
Monday, July 11, 2016, 5-7 p.m.

Everyone knows that San Francisco is surrounded on three sides by water. But few realize that live, running water bubbles up from the ground throughout the city, from Islais Creek in Glen Canyon, to a rivulet high up on Twin Peaks, to a spring in Alemany Farm. Gary Kamiya will look at the fascinating history of San Francisco’s lost waters and explore the surprising ones that still exist.

Gary Kamiya was born in Oakland, grew up in Berkeley and has lived in San Francisco since 1971. He is the author of the bestselling Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco, which was awarded the 2013 Northern California Book Award in creative nonfiction. His first book was the critically acclaimed Shadow Knights: The Secret War Against Hitler. He was a founder and longtime executive editor of the pioneering Web site Salon.com. His work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Sports Illustrated, ArtForum, Mother Jones and many other publications. He is currently the executive editor of San Francisco Magazine and writes a history column, “Portals of the Past,” that appears every Saturday in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Beyond the Spine: A Closer Look at W.A. Dwiggins’s Book Designs for Alfred A. Knopf.
Monday, August 15, 2016, 5-7 p.m.

Click on the image for a larger view: from the Dwiggins Collection at the Boston Public Library

Presented by the California Rare Book School at the Book Club of California.

W.A. Dwiggins (1880–1956) is primarily known today for his type designs and his marionette theatre. However, from the late 1920s until his death, he was viewed principally as a book designer and considered to be one of the best in America. His work for Alfred A. Knopf was especially lauded, but the specific books of his that have been routinely singled out for praise tend to be limited edition work done for other publishers. When his Knopf books are cited, the emphasis is usually on their spines or shelf backs. Other aspects of Dwiggins’s book designs for Knopf, especially the interiors, remain overlooked. This talk seeks to rectify that oversight by looking at a wide swath of the more than three hundred books Dwiggins designed for Knopf, from their jackets to their colophons. In doing so, it will provide a new perspective on his work as a trade book designer and insights into Dwiggins’s views on book design.

Paul Shaw is a graphic designer and a design historian. He teaches calligraphy and typography at Parsons School of Design, and the history of graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. He is the author of Helvetica and the New York City Subway (2009) and the editor of The Eternal Letter (2014). Since 1980 he has been working on a critical biography of W.A. Dwiggins. Over the past decade he has given over a dozen talks on various aspects of Dwiggins’s varied career.


Bringing Artists’ Books into the Mainstream: The Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books.
Monday, August 22, 2016, 5-7 p.m.

For a special collections libraries and art museums, encouraging engagement with rare, fragile, or otherwise vulnerable works that must be handled to be fully experienced is a quintessential problem. Stephen Woodall will discuss his institution’s efforts to address this dilemma through recent initiatives that establish a template for the translation of artists’ books into electronic media. Woodall will outline the promising advantages to this approach, and discuss the significant limitations of electronically distributed art.

Stephen Woodall is Collections Specialist at the Reva and David Logan Collection of Illustrated Books, the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts. Prior to that he was director of Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Book and Paper Arts. From 1996-2008 Woodall served as Education Director and Artistic Director for the San Francisco Center for the Book, where he developed an extensive program of workshops and exhibitions.

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