Library by Mail

What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Residence in San Francisco, and
  • Inability to leave home due to a permanent disability

How do I register for Library by Mail?

1. Complete a Library by Mail application:  

2. Return it to the Library or contact us:

  • by email:
  • by telephone: 415-437-4835
  • by mail: 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Your application will be evaluated and you will be notified of the result. Please note that you must return any items you have checked out and pay any fines before we can start this service. To clear your account, you may contact us at 415-437-4835.

How will I receive and return what I borrow?

Everything will be sent via the US Postal Service. We mail a reusable canvas mailbag to your home address. A pre-addressed and pre-paid return mailing card is enclosed each time. All materials must be returned at once in the same bag. After all items have been returned, a new bag filled with library materials can be sent out. Materials can be returned in the following ways:

  • leave the mailbag with your mail carrier
  • have someone take the bag for you to a post office
  • return the bag to any SFPL branch during open hours
  • if the bag fits, deposit it in a library book drop during closed hours

What can be borrowed?

Anything from the SFPL circulating collection including books, CDs, DVDs, etc. that will fit in the canvas bag. We cannot get Link+ or Interlibrary Loan materials.

For how long can I borrow materials?

Check-out is 30 days to allow extra time for mailing.

Can I renew items?

You may renew items following the usual SFPL policy, but for 30 day increments. If you need further assistance, call 415-437-4835.

How many items may I borrow at one time?

You may borrow as many items as will fit in the canvas mailing bag. You can let us know if you want fewer items at a time, or to wait for a complete bag-full to accumulate.

What happens if I am late returning material or lose something?

The usual SFPL policies apply.

May I continue to borrow books at a branch and also receive books by mail?

No; the Library by Mail service is specifically for SF residents who are unable to visit a branch and borrow books due to a disability.

What else must I know about Library by Mail?

Lack of activity for 90 days on your Library by Mail account may result in a suspension of service.