SF Main Library hours extended for first time in 22 years

The Main Library at 100 Larkin St. | Photo: Wally Gobetz/Flickr
By Carrie Sisto - Published on January 04, 2019.

The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) system is increasing hours at 12 of its branches later this month  — including the Main Library, which will receive its first increase in hours in 22 years.

While the Main Library has always been open more hours than any other branch, the two extra hours — one on Sunday evening and one on Monday morning — are the first increase since it was built in 1996. The increased hours will take effect next Saturday, January 12.

“You may have noticed there is often a line-up of patrons waiting to get into the Main Library on Monday morning,” said SFPL spokesperson Mindy Linetzky. “Now they can come in at 9:00 a.m. to use our books, computers, and other materials."

The change is based on public feedback. Once every five years, the SFPL does an assessment of its service to patrons across the city to determine appropriate opening hours. The most recent assessment found that patrons wanted more time on the weekends, and in the case of the Main Library, Monday mornings.

That led to increased hours at 12 library branches, including the Sunset, Richmond, Potrero and Bernal Heights branches, among others. Here's the full list of updated hours:

The red asterisks indicate branches whose hours have been extended. | Image: SFPL

Linetzky said the most recent assessment surveyed more than 5,000 library patrons system-wide. It's used to identify spending priorities for the Library Preservation Fund, established in a 1994 ballot measure that earmarks a percentage of the city’s property taxes and the general fund baseline for the library system. Renewed by voters in 2007, the fund is currently set to remain in place until 2022.

The fund provides about 98 percent of the SFPL’s budget, according to the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.

While this is the first hours increase for the Main Library since 1996, open library hours system-wide have increased by 26 percent in those 22 years, according to Linetzky. That includes a relatively recent expansion that made all libraries across the city open seven days a week.

Linetzky said the library system does not anticipate needing additional staff to accommodate the increased hours in the new year.

You can find full hours for each of San Francisco's libraries at sfpl.org/openhours

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