Mayor London Breed and San Francisco Public Library Announce Full In-Person Service at Neighborhood Branches by August 17
The Library will sunset its SFPL To-Go front door pickup service as it reopens 11 neighborhood branch libraries and resumes pre-pandemic hours at the Main Library after Labor Day
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and City Librarian Michael Lambert today announced that San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) will reopen 11 neighborhood branches for full in-person service by August 17, beginning today with the Park and West Portal locations. After the Labor Day holiday, the Main Library will also resume its pre-pandemic hours, providing evening service three days a week.
Today marks the final wave of reopenings after the Library closed all locations for indoor service in March 2020, during which time hundreds of SFPL employees were deployed as Disaster Service Workers (DSW) supporting the City’s COVID-19 response, and 10 neighborhood library branches served as community hubs to assist the City’s most vulnerable youth with distance learning.
“I am excited to announce that our neighborhood libraries are reopening for in-person service,” said Mayor Breed. “Like so many City services, our libraries were hit hard by the pandemic with staff forced to find innovative ways to continue serving our communities. I want to thank the San Francisco Public Library staff for supporting our city through this challenging time and their commitment to keeping our libraries operating and accessible.”
SFPL encompasses 28 locations, one of which, the Mission Branch Library, is closed for renovation. Also reopening this month in addition to the Park and West Portal branches are: Ingleside, North Beach, and Sunset (August 9); Anza, Marina, Portola and Potrero (August 10); Golden Gate Valley (August 16) and lastly, Merced (August 17). While the Mission Branch is closed for renovation, the Library is establishing a temporary location to serve Mission District residents. Patrons can check out books from the Bookmobile at Harrison and 20th streets, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:00-6:00 p.m. Detailed information for hours and locations can be found at sfpl.org/reopening.
Although most library staff have returned to their primary roles after serving as Disaster Service Workers, staffing levels remain too low to resume pre-pandemic hours at the neighborhood branch libraries due to a large number of vacancies. Likewise, in-person public programs such as storytimes and author talks will be phased in as staffing allows.
“We said we would get it done by the time school starts, and we are keeping to that promise,” says City Librarian Michael Lambert. “I want to thank the public for their ongoing patience and support during this time. We are incredibly excited to welcome you back through our doors, and we look forward to reintroducing in-person public programs in the weeks to follow.”
“Our branch library staff have put a tremendous amount of care and dedication toward reopening branch libraries for the public,” stated Chief of Branches Catherine Delneo. “Our Branch Library staff have done so much during the past year to serve our community and are so glad that we are now able to get back to doing what we love to do the most - welcoming everyone back inside San Francisco's branch libraries.”
The Main Library returns to pre-pandemic hours the day after Labor Day on September 7, providing more service after work and school hours. The Main Library will offer service until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and until 6:00 p.m. on other days, and it will also open at 9:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday to serve morning patrons.
“We are so appreciative of the community support we’ve received during our phased reopening, and while there’s yet a bit further to go, Main is just too beautiful a library with too many minor miracles happening each day to hold back any longer. We are excited to resume regular service hours in September,” said Tom Fortin, Chief of the Main Library.
As part of the City’s Summer Together initiative, SFPL is giving away 10 books to all San Francisco Unified School District students. Students and caregivers can pick up their book bundles at any location. Additionally, the Library’s Summer Stride program is in full swing with programs for all ages. Individuals who complete 20 hours of Library activity (reading, attending an event, and visiting a library all count) can earn prizes and a coveted 2021 Summer Stride tote bag with original artwork by Bay Area artist Kaylani Juanita. Summer Stride and the Summer Together book pickup officially end on September 12. More details at sfpl.org/summerstride.
Masks are required at all SFPL locations.
Director of Communications