The San Francisco Public Library, founded in 1878, serves a population of nearly 800,000 from a main building and 26 branches. With almost two-anda-half million book volumes, it has an annual circulation of close to five-anda-half million. The library has special collections in the areas of Chinese language, calligraphy, gay and lesbian history, science fiction, and humor.
San Francisco's premier art museum is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, located in a striking modern building designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta (b. 1943), opposite the Yerba Buena Gardens, after moving from its longtime site in the Civic Center. The museum, which houses more than 17,000 pieces of art, is known locally as "Sf-MOMA." Other major art collections are found at the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, which features European paintings; it is located in Golden Gate Park, where it shares a building with the Asian Art Museum. San Francisco is also home to an eclectic array of specialty museums, including the American Carousel Museum, the National Maritime Museum, the San Francisco International Toy Museum, the Old Mint, the Telephone Museum, the San Francisco Fire Department Museum, the Chinese Culture Center Museum, and the San Francisco Crafts and Folk Art Museum.