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San Francisco Public Library Main Branch Reopens to Cheers

The San Francisco Main Library opened its doors to cheering patrons today for the first time since March 13, 2020.

The reopening kicks off a new program called “Browse and Bounce,” offering limited indoor service on the library’s first floor, Monday–Saturday, 10:00am–5:30pm and Sunday, noon–5:30pm. Additional branches in Chinatown (May 17); Mission Bay (May 18); Ortega, Richmond, and Visitacion Valley (June 21); and Excelsior (June 22) will reopen within the “Browse and Bounce” program in the coming weeks.

For the time being, patrons can browse library books, music, movies and more, and access the public computers for 50-minute sessions, as well as use the printers and photocopiers. The library will continue to offer SFPL To-Go, which lets people pick up holds at the front door.

Additional floors of the Main Library will reopen as soon as staffing allows, but with “Browse and Bounce,” patrons can also request materials be brought down from the upper floors. History buffs, long denied access to the San Francisco History Center on the Main Library’s 6th floor, can visit that collection by appointment.

Capacity will be limited and patrons must maintain safety protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks. But even with these limitations (including no chairs for reading or study), today’s reopening was a joyous one for both library patrons and staff.—Sarah Hotchkiss

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