Mission Branch Library Renovation

Library Improvements for Tomorrow—Mission Branch

In collaboration with the community and with architects from San Francisco Public Works, the Library aims to transform the Mission Branch Library into an energy efficient, safe and resilient neighborhood library while maintaining its inherent charm. We plan to incorporate 21st Century library practices, building systems and technology into this landmarked 1916 Carnegie library.

Goals of this project include the restoration of a community meeting space to the building, returning the primary building entrance to its original location on 24th Street, returning a grand central staircase to the building, improving the facilities for children and teens, adding restroom capacity, and restoring the grand reading room on the upper level.

These are lofty goals, but with the community’s participation and our team’s creativity, the Mission Branch will continue as a neighborhood treasure for many generations to come.

 2018 Branch Capital Projects Feasibility Study (PDF)

Community Engagement




$34.08 million




Why is the renovation starting now? 

Between 2000 and 2014, the San Francisco Public Library renovated or constructed 24 branch libraries. The Mission, Chinatown and Ocean View branches were not part of that program. In 2018, the Library together with San Francisco Public Works, looked at the needs of these three branches and analyzed the cost and practicality of improving their spaces to better serve the community. This study recommended renovating the Mission Branch, primarily because the branch lacks space to hold quality programs and the building mechanical and electrical systems are at the end of their service life.

What are some of the issues for the Mission Branch Library?

  • No designated area for community programs.
  • Too few public restrooms.
  • No dedicated Teen Area.
  • Confusing first floor layout.
  • Mechanical and electrical building systems are at the end of their service life.
  • Furnishings and shelving are not movable for flexible spaces.
  • Staff areas are in various locations – not consolidated for maximum efficiency.

What are preliminary design ideas?

  • Preserve historic Carnegie reading room.
  • Increase the square footage with a small addition.
  • Provide a flexible community program/meeting space.
  • Replace building mechanical systems.
  • Restore original historic entrance and main stairs.
  • Upgrade and add restrooms.
  • Improve access into and through the branch.
  • Make it easier for staff to view all areas of the building.
  • Create flexible spaces.

What is the budget for Mission Branch Library project?

The Mission renovation is estimated to cost $24.7 million to fully fund the planning, design and construction of the Mission Branch Library renovation. The Library has also including funding for the rental of temporary services location in the Mission neighborhood during the renovation. The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library will be raising funds from private donations to help pay for the furniture, fixtures and equipment.

What is the timeline for the renovation?

We held the first community engagement meetings in May and June 2018. Additional community meetings occurred in fall 2018, followed by design development, construction drawings and bid/award phases. After building permit approvals are complete in fall of 2021 and the project will go out to bid. Construction is estimated to begin in 2022.

Will the branch close during construction?

Yes, we anticipate that the branch will be closed for approximately 18 – 25 months while being renovated. The Library is committed to providing library service to the community at a temporary location. The Library also plans to host programs at alternative locations in the neighborhood.

Is the Mission Branch Library an historic building?

Yes, the Mission Branch was designated a San Francisco Landmark in 2004. The library, one of seven Carnegie branches, opened in 1915 and was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh.

What are the guiding design principals for the Mission Branch Library renovation?

  • 21st Century Libraries
  • Update branches to enable SFPL’s skilled library staff to provide library services to the public now and in the future.
  • Flexible & Adaptable Building Designs
  • Create spaces that can easily transform to serve community needs through flexible and adaptable design and furnishings.
  • Multifunctional Community Meeting Spaces
  • Incorporate multifunctional community meeting spaces and program rooms into the designs for the Mission Branch.
  • Transparency & Ease of Wayfinding
  • Make visits to the Library easy and straightforward for the public through improved wayfinding signage and design incorporating the design principle of transparency – seeing into and out from our branch libraries and seeing across these community space – when possible.
  • Preservation of Historic Carnegie Libraries
  • Preserve the Mission Branch, an historic, landmarked Carnegie Library.

How do I get involved?

The Library will host a series of meetings for the public throughout the design phase of the project.

Upcoming meetings will be announced on the Library Improvements for Tomorrow – Mission Branch page of the Library’s website: sfpl.org/mission-renovation

To receive email notifications about engagement opportunities, send an email to LIFT@sfpl.org.

rev. 10/18/21