Mayor Breed Announces Kick Off Construction of Mission Branch Library Renovation


The $34 million renovation preserves the historic charm of the 1916 landmarked building while bringing the facility into the 21st century 

San Francisco, CA – Today, Mayor London N. Breed, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) and Public Works (DPW) announced the start of construction on the $34 million Mission Branch Library renovation.  

Funded through the Library Preservation Fund and a $5.3 million grant from the California State Library Building Forward initiative, the renovation is designed to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified to align with San Francisco’s Climate Action Plan goals to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. 

“Our neighborhood libraries are essential community hubs where residents can connect with one another and utilize many amenities that support all ages and lifelong learning,” said Mayor London Breed. “The renovation for the Mission Branch Library will restore the landmarked building into a state-of-the-art, energy efficient facility that will better serve residents and visitors, while still maintaining the Branch’s historic charm and its community roots.”  

In collaboration with the community, the Library and architects from San Francisco Public Works developed a renovation plan that focused on making the historic building energy efficient, seismically safe, and resilient to extreme weather and air quality events. Per the City’s electrification ordinance, the renovation eliminates the need for natural gas appliances and heating. Instead, the building will draw power from a new rooftop solar system and the City’s municipal hydroelectric power. The renovated branch, located at 300 Bartlett Street, will feature a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system with MERV 13 air filtration and air conditioning to provide respite during heat and air quality events.  

“It’s very exciting to see this project finally get underway. The improvements to the Mission Branch Library will be transformative for the community. I’m especially heartened to see how responsive the design is to the District’s current and future needs. The renovation ensures that the community will always have a safe, beautiful and enriching place to seek refuge whether it be during extreme weather events or just for some much-needed quiet time,” said District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen.  

Built in 1916, the Mission Branch Library is one of seven landmarked libraries in San Francisco funded by donations from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. The renovation restores the original entrance on 24th Street and central staircase that were removed during a renovation in the 1990s. At the top of the main stairs is the refurbished main reading room with improved lighting, furniture and movable shelving, made possible with the support from the Friends and Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library. Other amenities, developed in response to community input, include a flexible community meeting and program space on the ground floor, a teen reading area occupying a light-filled extension overlooking Orange Alley, a new children’s area, and additional restrooms. The renovation is being executed by S.J. Amoroso Construction Company, LLC, a San Francisco-based company.  

“The renovation of the Mission Branch Library is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. I want to thank the community for showing up throughout this process to share with us their hopes and dreams for this renovation. We listened carefully to your feedback. We added a dedicated teen area, more restrooms and a flexible meeting room where the community can come together to conduct important neighborhood business and celebrate life and cultural events. It’s going to be spectacular,” states City Librarian Michael Lambert.  

“The Mission Branch Library is a true community gem and Public Works is excited to partner on its renovation, which is designed to both reassert the historical significance of this magnificent 107-year-old building and meet the needs of a modern-day San Francisco,” said interim Public Works Director Carla Short, whose team is providing architectural, landscape architectural, engineering project, and construction management services.  

The construction project generated roughly 2% for Art Enrichment funds, which helped the San Francisco Arts Commission hire celebrated Bay Area artist Juana Alicia Araiza to create a new public artwork in the form of a large stained-glass window for the main reading room. The design, Nopal de la Misión, features a monumental prickly pear cactus (nopal) with flowers and fruit that symbolize resistance, sustenance and regeneration.  

“The Arts Commission is thrilled to partner with the Public Library and artist Juana Alicia on this important project and to incorporate a site-specific public art installation that will serve as a magnificent centerpiece for the Mission Branch Library,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Ralph Remington. 

“We at Friends are excited to engage with the private sector and the community to raise funds for site-specific furniture, fixtures and equipment to meet the evolving needs of the Mission Branch Library and its patrons,” said Barbara Alvarez, Director of Philanthropy at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. “It is an outstanding opportunity for the San Francisco philanthropic community to fortify this Library and show support for the Mission district.” 

With construction estimated to take approximately two years, the Mission Branch Library will continue to operate seven days a week out of its temporary site located around the corner at 1234 Valencia Street.    

According to the 2022 California State Library Survey, SFPL has the highest circulation per capita amongst urban libraries in the state, and its circulation is among the top 15 urban public libraries in the country. The system, which includes bookmobiles, 27 neighborhood branch libraries, and the Main Library at Civic Center, sees an average of 10,000 patrons per day. Last November, voters overwhelmingly approved Prop F, the renewal of the Library Preservation Fund (LPF), which secures funding for Library services and materials as well as operations of facilities and capital projects for the next 25 years. The LPF is the Library’s largest budget source, accounting for nearly 99% of its FY24 budget of $199 million. SFPL funds one of the largest collections and materials budgets per capita, among U.S. libraries, and is also one of the largest providers of free Wi-Fi in the City, serving 8,100 people per day.   

“It was great to see the community at our construction kickoff to help us celebrate the start of this new, exciting chapter,” says SFPL Commission President Connie Wolf. “We are delighted we can finally deliver on the promise of a state-of-the-art facility for the community that encourages reading, learning and free access to information. In the meantime, I hope everyone takes advantage of all of the wonderful things happening and resources at our temporary location, just around the corner at 1234 Valencia Street.”  

August 29, 2023