For its second edition in San Francisco, the Night of Ideas will embrace the six floors of the San Francisco Main Library! Designed to spur dialogue and creative participation amongst panelists and attendees on the theme Living on the Edge, the evening will ask participants to consider a world balanced on immense challenges and even grander possibilities - how will we reckon these tensions and use them to create new visions for how we live together going forward?


Experimenting a new format this year, each floor of the Main Library will be devoted to a separate theme exploring the different edges on which contemporary life balances:


 CHAOS + CREATION: Lower Level 

How do we cope with disorder and disruption to fashion new ways to think and be? 

  SIGHTS + SOUNDS: 1st Floor and beyond 

Be on the lookout for pop-up performances and experiences!

 WONDER + WORRY: 2nd Floor 

What anxieties about the future weight on us most, and what fascinations will transform the way we live?


How do we find belonging and identity while making space for differences of lived experience? 

 TRUTH + DOUBT: 4th Floor  

With consensus about history and facts increasingly fractured, what narratives should we affirm?



How do we transcend limits on movement for a healthy economy and a just society? 


Mix and mingle, drink and dance with the Friends of the SFPL! 

6:45 PM

Welcome to Night of Ideas

Michael Lambert, City Librarian,San Francisco Public Library; Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Consul General, French Consulate in San Francisco; Tomoko Kanamitsu, Head of Public Dialogue, SFMOMA; Holly Kiernan, Chief Content Officer, KQED; Dr. Mary Wardell Ghirarduzzi, San Francisco Library Commission President.

7:00 PM

INTERACTIVE Making A Love Letter To The Bay

Tell your story for an upcoming episode of KQED’s podcast Bay Curious. Was there an experience in your life that made you love the Bay Area? Or is there a person, place or thing that keeps you here?

5th Floor, Glass Study Rooms

9:30 PM

KEYNOTE Rhodessa Jones, artist and activist, Cultural Odyssey with Pendarvis Harshaw, KQED
2nd Floor, Children's Center Desk

KEYNOTE The Natural World with Obi Kaufmann by Litquake
2nd Floor, The Mix

KEYNOTE Future Survival Kit with Lucy McRae
3rd Floor Desk

KEYNOTE Telling Heroes from Villains with T.J. Stiles by Litquake
4th Floor Desk

KEYNOTE Bay Area Theatre Cypher featuring Carlos Aguirre aka Infinite
5h Floor, Periodicals Room

10:00 PM

7:30 PM

PANEL Catastrophe, Storytelling, History by UC Berkeley 

Kathleen Donegan, Ron Hendel, Anthony Long, James Porter, UC Berkeley; with Timothy Hampton,Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley
Lower Level, Latino/Hispanic Community Room

KEYNOTE Gordon Chang on Asian Americans: In and Out of America, Stanford University
2nd Floor, The Mix

KEYNOTE Isha Clarke, climate activist,Youth vs. Apocalypse with Pendarvis Harshaw, KQED
2nd Floor, Children’s Center Desk

KEYNOTE  Our Life in 2049: French & American Perspectives with Dominique Nora, L’Obs; Intro by District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney
3rd Floor Desk

KEYNOTE Conspiracy Theories with Kathryn Olmsted,

UC Davis Department of History
4th Floor Desk

KEYNOTE The Sanctuary Movement with Rev. Deborah Lee, the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
5th Floor, Periodicals Room

8 PM

PANEL KQED Forum Live with Mina Kim

How Does Living in Constant Chaos Affect Us?
Lower Level, Koret Auditorium

INTERACTIVE Youth Open Mic: What Election 2020 Issues Matter Most to You? with KQED Youth Advisors
2nd Floor, Children's Center A

PANEL Nature on the Edge: What You Can Do To Help by Presidio Trust

Lew Stringer, Presidio Trust; Brooke Jarvis, The New York Times; Sharon Farrell, Golden Gate National Parks
Conservancy; with Michael Boland, Presidio Trust

2nd Floor, Children's Center B

SCREENING 40 Years of Asian American Stories Onscreen with Stephen Gong, The Center for Asian American Media
2nd Floor, The Mix

PANEL Medicine: Repaired Human, Enhanced Human? by L’Obs
Sophie Cahen, Ganymed Robotics; Hank Greely, Stanford Law School; Kevin Doxzen, Innovative Genomics Institute; with Lesley McClurg, KQED
3rd Floor, African American Center

PANEL Regaining Rights After Incarceration by Root & Rebound
Katherine Katcher, Watani Stiner, Carmen Garcia, Damali Robertson; with Sasha Khoka, KQED

3rd Floor, Chinese Center

INTERACTIVE Get Lit: Local Writers, hosted by Friends of the SFPL
Lower Level, Latino/Hispanic Community Room


INTERACTIVE Wild Child Movement Collective
2nd Floor, Children's Center A

INTERACTIVE Future Perfect: A Postcapitalist Adventure by Institute for the Future
Ben Gansky and Ilana Lipsett; TheTomorrowland Band

2nd Floor, Children's Center B

SCREENING Who We Are and Where We Live: Documenting California by California Humanities
Amir Soltani, Dogtown Redemption; Tom Shepard, Unsettled; Rodrigo Reyes, Sansón and Me; Dawn Valadez and Katie Galloway, The Pushouts; with John Lightfoot, California Humanities

2nd Floor, The Mix

PERFORMANCE Black Benatar’s Black Magic Cabaret by Beatrice L. Thomas, Authentic Arts & Media
3rd Floor, Hormel LGBTQIAA+ Center

PANEL AI: Will Algorithms Exclude Human Free Will? by L’Obs 

Sonja Schmer-Galunder, Smart Information Flow Technologies (SIFT); Nicolas Colin, The Family; Paul Duan, Bayes Impact
3rd Floor, African American Center

INTERACTIVE Singing is Belonging

Elliot Franks, New Voices Bay Area TIGQ Chorus with Chloe Veltman, KQED
3th Floor, Chinese Center

INTERACTIVE Don't Deepfake Me! by The Grid
Christa Sommerer, media artist; Praba Pilar, artist

4th Floor, Jobs and Careers Center

INTERACTIVE Finding E.T.: The SETI Quest by the SETI Institute

Nathalie Cabrol, Bill Diamond, Franck Marchis, Andrew Siemion, Jill Tarter
4th Floor, Silver Center


Living Books: Check out a live expert for conversation
4th Floor, Small Business Center

PANEL Off to the Side: Inside the Margins of America by America

Dave Eggers, author; Ingrid Rojas Contreras, author; Kate Schatz, author; with Julien Bisson, America
5th Floor, Environmental Center

BOOKS + BUBBLES featuring DJ Dials by Friends of the SFPL, Value Culture and Noise Pop
5th Floor, Periodicals Room


PANEL Cripping the Future: 2020 and Beyond by Paul

K. Longmore Institute on Disability, San Francisco State University
Alex Locust, Leroy Moore, Alice Wong, Caleb Luna, Claudia Alick

3rd Floor, Hormel LGBTQIAA+ Center

PANEL Black Testimony and Its Denial by ACLU of Northern California, California Historical Society and Equal Justice Society

Laura Atkins, author; Regina Evans, performer and abolitionist; Shauna Marshall, UC Hastings; Martin Luther McCoy, performer; Tirien Steinbach, ACLU; with Tammerlin Drummond, ACLU
4th Floor, Jobs and Careers Center

PANEL Fake News: Dealing with (Dis)Information by French Tech San Francisco

Renee DiResta, Stanford Internet Observatory; Jeff Hancock, Stanford Social Media Lab; Clement Wolf, Google; with Devin Katayama, KQED
4th Floor, Silver Center

PANEL San Francisco's Political Moments and Movements by Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club

District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and guests
4th Floor, Small Business Center

PANEL Art and Borders by UC Santa Cruz, Institute for Arts and Science, with Caleb Duarte, artist; Rachel Nelson, curator

5th Floor, Environmental Center

PANEL Transforming Urban Skies: From Flying Cars to Drone Delivery by World Economic Forum

Chad Cashin, Joby Aviation; Timothy Reuter, World Economic Forum; Kofi Asante, Elroy Air; Brittany Hume Charm, Zipline; with Dan Brekke, KQED
5th Floor, Periodicals Room

PANEL KQED Forum Live with Mina Kim

How Does Living in Constant Chaos Affect Us?

Noa Kushner, The Kitchen

john a. powell, Othering and Belonging Institute, UC Berkeley

Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology and Neurology, Stanford University

10:30 PM Music by Idris Ackamoor &The Pyramids
Lower level, Koret Auditorium

11 PM Circus Theatrics by The Vau de Vire Society

Noise Pop presents Chulita Vinyl Club DJs

+ surprise performers
1st Floor, Atrium

11 PM BOOKS + BUBBLES featuring DJ D Sharp, official DJ of the Golden State Warriors, by Friends of the SFPL and Value Culture
5th Floor, Periodicals Room

MIDNIGHT Drag Alive + Bingo + Giveaways Produced by Vivvy + Stud Collective
Lover Level, Koret Auditorium



Seeds, Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company


Wander Wonder Wow, Circus Bella

New Voices Chorus

Duniya Dance and Drum Company

Lycée Français de San Francisco with Manuel Vutrieu and students

Liza, Liza, Liza with cast of thousands,
produced by OX + Vivvy

Moving Meditation: Qigong & Wellness, Rebecca Grossbard. (three sessions of 45mins at 8.30, 9.30 and 10.30pm)

FREE Screen Print Poster Art + Action and Sanctuary City Print Shop

Participatory Portraits with Lycée Français de San Francisco and Megan Leppla

INTERACTIVE Ecofeminist Art Tank of Actions & Ideas by Loud Spring

The Friends invite you to mix and mingle from 7 p.m.–2 a.m. Enjoy sparkling libations in the BubbleGarden.

9 PM

PANEL KQED Forum Live with Mina Kim

Channeling Disorder: Chaos and Creative Process

Jessica Creane, game and immersive experience designer

Justin Michael Williams, Author, “Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide for the Rest of Us”

Larry Ochs, Rova Saxophone Quartet

Lower Level, Koret Auditorium

WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS TO PARIS courtesy of French bee Airlines! Post a picture of Night of Ideas on Instagram with #FrenchBeeNOI2020 between 7-11:30 p.m. on Feb. 1. Winner will be randomly chosen at midnight and must be present to win.   

Program subject to change