San Francisco, CA

San Francisco Public Library is now open for Browsing

Amancay Tapia
Güzel Maksutova/Unsplash

Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges once said "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of a Library" so no wonder many excited San Franciscans were yesterday morning excitedly lining up outside the beloved San Francisco Public library before its doors opened for the first time in 14 months.

Those thirsty for knowledge were welcomed back into the building to a cheerful ovation by SFPL staff as they walked through the door.

We’ve missed each and every one of our library patrons, just as much as they’ve missed us and we are so proud to start welcoming them back inside, said City Librarian Michael Lambert.

For now, the main library is offering limited indoor service, they have only reopened the first floor to provide express in-person services. The Main Children's Center and upper floors, as well as more neighborhood branches, will reopen as staffing permits.

The Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch Library is expected to reopen Monday May 17 and Mission Bay Branch Library on Tuesday May 18.

For the safety of the public and library staff, SFPL has developed a “Browse and Bounce” program to check out materials and access library resources.

You will be able to browse books, music, movies and access free public computers for 50-minute sessions by reservation, as well as access to printers, photocopiers, and library staff to help you to return borrowed materials, pick up holds, use the self-check-out machines, and get assistance with library cards and accounts.

Browse and Bounce will operate in addition to SFPL To Go, the library service that delivers requested library materials at select locations.

At the Main Library, and by appointment only, patrons will also be able to visit the San Francisco History Center on the 6th floor.

The library closed its doors last spring due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ever since, hundreds of SFPL staff have been working serving San Francisco’s COVID response in a variety of roles such as for example, disaster service workers or contact tracers.

Mayor London Breed thanked the library staff via twitter;

Welcome back – and thank you to all the San Francisco Public Libraty staff who have serving our City as Disaster Service Workers!

Due to the limited reopening, no chairs will be available for sitting to read, study and meeting rooms will be closed, and events are still only available online.

Today, there are holding an online event at 10am about "workplace rights of survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault & stalking", and Thrusday May 6, they are hosting a “How to apply for a California State Job” event with a representative from the California Employment Development Department who will cover everything you need to know to navigate CalCareers.

Please note that patrons using the library are reminded that library users over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask or face covering

In these times of consumerism and materialism, it warmed the hearts of many to see people excited about entering a building that offers something money can’t buy, knowledge.

Pre-Internet, Albert Einstein said it first, the only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.’

So in case you absolutely need to know San Francisco Main Library is situated at 100 Larkin Streetand it is now open every day of the week between 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

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