Other Facts about the Building


Construction was financed by a $109.5 million bond measure approved by San Francisco voters in 1988. Construction of the Main Library cost $104.5 million. The remaining funds were used for branch renovations. Furnishing, interior finishes and equipment were financed through $30 million in private funds raised by the Library Foundation of San Francisco.


Marshall Square in San Francisco Civic Center. The site is bounded by Larkin, Fulton, Hyde and Grove Streets.

Chronology and Schedule:


The Library Commission, the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Keep Libraries Alive!, and other citizen groups fight successfully to retain Marshall Square as the site for a new main library.


The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library offers to work with Mayor Dianne Feinstein on the completion of the Civic Center, including use of Marshall Square for a new library.


A task force is created by Mayor Feinstein to complete the design of the Civic Center. A report by Becker and Hayes/Omni-Group criticizes the Old Main and calls for building a new library in Marshall Square. The Friends of the San Francisco Public Library inaugurate a private fund-raising campaign for the New Main. The Library Foundation of San Francisco is established to support a New Main. (Friends & Foundation of the San Francisco Public Library)


A second study by Becker and Hayes/Omni-Group underscores the use of Marshall Square for a new library. Another study, by Skidmore Owings Merrill, recommends that the Old Main be used for a museum. (Future of the Old Main.) The mayor calls for a new main library in Marshall Square as part of a Civic Center master plan.


Library bond for 109.5 million passes for renovation of a few branches and construction of a new 376,000 square foot Main Library.


Pei Cobb Freed & Partners of New York and Simon Martin-Vegue Winkelstein Moris of San Francisco are hired by the Library Commission as architects for the New Main.


The Library Foundation officially announces its campaign for the New Main.


Groundbreaking ceremony is held in Marshall Square. Special Gifts campaign is launched to seek funds from various local constituencies (affinity groups) for particular collections and capital gains.


On March 15, construction of the New Main begins.


Topping-out ceremony marks the completion of the framing of the new building. The Library Foundation reaches $30 million fund-raising goal and keeps going.


New Main is completed. By the end of the year, the Library Foundation has raised $35 million.


Opening of the Main is on April 18.


Post Occupancy Evaluation Report (POE): Executive Summary


Seating Capacity: 2,043 (5 times that of the Old Main Library)

Public Service Areas: 1,180 (3 times that of the Old Main Library)

Meeting Rooms: 544 seats Auditorium: 235 seats

Study Rooms: 46 seats (2 in each study room)


Square Feet: 376,000. Six floors above ground. One floor below ground.