SF Public Library’s Main Branch Is Back Open, With 2 Other Branches Close Behind

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

SF Public Library’s Main Branch Is Back Open, With 2 Other Branches Close Behind

Bay Area bookworms, rejoice!

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a lot of simple pleasures away, from dining in a restaurant to getting a new haircut. But as things start to open back up, we’re very excited to see that San Francisco’s spectacular public library system is returning, so that local bookworms can start browsing for their next page-turner!

The San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library just opened up on Monday, May 3 to the delight of library staff and visitors alike. Library staff members welcomed visitors with cheers and applause.

The first floor of SFPL’s Main Library, located at 100 Larkin Street (enter via Grove Street), will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-5:30pm, and Sunday 12pm-5:30pm. Visitors may also reserve appointments to visit the 6th floor’s San Francisco History Center and request materials from other floors.

Two more SFPL branches will open their doors later this month:

Monday, May 17 – Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch Library
1135 Powell Street
Monday-Friday, 10am-5:30pm

Tuesday, May 18 – Mission Bay Branch Library
960 Fourth Street
Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-5:30pm


More branches are expected to open on June 21st and 22nd, including the Excelsior Branch (4400 Mission St), the Ortega Branch (3223 Ortega St), the Richmond/Sen. Milton Marks Jr. branch (351 9th Ave), and the Visitacion Valley branch (201 Leland Ave).

According to a press release, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) has enacted a “Browse and Bounce” program, in which patrons may use in-person library services for a limited period of time. Visitors may open library accounts, browse library materials in designated areas, use free public computers during 50-minute time slots, consult with library staff, return and pick up books, use the self-check-out machines, and more. The library has also started “SFPL To Go,” in which patrons may pick up requested items at the door.

All in-person library services follow stringent COVID-19 safety measures, including required face coverings, social distancing, building capacity limits, hand sanitizing stations, sneeze guards, self-checkout stations, and more.

“We’ve missed each and every one of our library patrons, just as much as they’ve missed us and we are so proud to start welcoming them back inside,” said City Librarian Michael Lambert. “Over the past few months, we have been hard at work laying the foundation for an in-person service that follows the latest public health guidance and safety protocols to protect our staff and patrons.”

It may come as a surprise to hear that members of SFPL’s staff have performed critical jobs during the City’s COVID-19 response. Hundreds of library staff worked as Disaster Services Workers and put in hours at food pantries, COVID-19 testing sites, Community Hubs for students, and Shelter-in-Place hotels. Many continue to perform necessary work as contact tracers and case investigators, providing translations, copywriting, communications and more for the City’s COVID Command Center.

“I want to thank all of the Library staff, along with all the other City workers, who have been serving San Francisco’s COVID response for more than a year now,” said Mayor Breed. “I know that people have really been missing the library, and though we’ve adapted to provide more to-go options and online resources, there’s nothing quite like getting to browse the shelves and pick out your next book.”

Be sure to stop by the San Francisco Public Library as they begin to open up more branches!


[Featured Image: Eric Broder Van Dyke via Shutterstock]

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