Current exhibit in the lobby on the first floor
"Joe D'Ambrosio: The Book as an Art Form "

'Daises Never Tell' (1982), a serigraph poster/broadside, inspration for the rotunda floor design. 'Olympe & Henriette' (1992) by Auguste Villiers de L'lsle-Adams. Sherman Oaks: D'Ambrosio Drawing of the rotunda floor design Self portrait of the artist Books created by D'Ambrosio 'Masks' by Carol Cunningham (1983). A shadow box front cover created by D'Ambrosio

Joe D'Ambrosio, primarily known as a book artist, also designed the terrazzo floor in the Library's rotunda, installed while the building was under construction in 1993. The design was inspired from a poster featured in his miniature book entitled Daisies Never Tell (1982). The center flower was replaced by the letter CSL (California State Library), but the remainder of the design contains letters that spell no words.

Over the years D'Ambrosio many examples of his work to the State Library, including preliminary drawings, trial proofs, and samples of the materials he used in making his books. A Nest of Robbins is one of his miniature nesting books on display. A number of the other many whimsical and eye-popping books designed, printed, and bound by D'Ambrosio are on exhibit, including a book he created about actress Gloria Stewart's Bonsai garden. The Small Garden of Gloria Stewart (1986) is one of only 50 copies made. During D'Ambrosio's career, he not only produced over 90 books, but also created a variety of posters, bookplates, and special projects like the terrazzo floor in the Library.

Current exhibit in the lobby on the second floor
"CALIFORNIA INVITES THE WORLD": The 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

Panoramic view of main palaces of the P.P.I.E. Ruhstaller's Beer Tray Grand Prize P.P.I.E. 1915. Mountain Bartlett Pears View of the variety of items related to P.P.I.E. including plates, books, and photos Brochures and postcards printed for P.P.I.E. in 1915 Exhibit display cases with the photos taken during P.P.I.E. in 1915 Eddie Rickenbacker at the Wheel of His Maxwell Race Car, 1915

On display in the Mead B. Kibbey Gallery of the Annex Building is an exciting exhibit celebrating the centennial of the Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco (better known as the P.P.I.E.) and the San Diego California Panama Exposition. Both 1915 fairs celebrated the opening of the Panama Canal and close to 30 million people attended. The San Francisco Exposition also celebrated the rebirth of the City following the devastating 1906 Earthquake and Fire. Many of the buildings from the San Diego extravaganza still survive today and form the nucleus of today's Balboa Park.

State Library staff members attended the San Francisco fair in 1915 and brought back to the State Library a variety of colorful booklets, brochures, pennants, posters, and postcards. In addition, Mead Kibbey generously donated to the Library's foundation 10,000 glass plate negatives created by the Cardinell-Vincent Company, the official photographers of the P.P.I.E. Several of the best examples have been expertly digitized by Vincent Beiderbecke and mounted by Dan Flanagan. Also on display is a beautiful collection of artifacts including souvenir spoons, hat pin, and nova gems loaned by Tom Vinson of the State Library Foundation. In short it is a visual feast.

The exhibit has been curated by Gary Kurutz, special collections with the able assistance of Messrs. Flanagan and Beiderbecke. California Invites the World will be on display through December.

Online Exhibits

Treasures of the California State Library

“Rich, Rare, and Curious: Treasures of the California State Library, 1850–2000” was held at the Crocker Art Museum in 2000. The exhibit catalog is available as California StateLibrary Foundation Bulletin Number 67. The issue consists of 75 pages, including several full-color illustrations describing the history and special collections of library. It can be purchased from the California State Library Foundation.