SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, some libraries in San Francisco will begin offering limited indoor service starting in May.
“I know that people have really been missing the library, and though we’ve adapted to provide more to-go options and online resources, there’s nothing quite like getting to browse the shelves and pick out your next book,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.READ MORE: Farms, Ranches In Southern Santa Clara County Grapple With Worsening Drought
City officials announced Tuesday that the first floor of the San Francisco Main Library will open May 3. The San Francisco History Center on the library’s top floor will also be open by appointment only. Patrons will be able to request materials from the upper floors in the meantime.
Hours for the Main Library will be Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Meanwhile the Chinatown/Him Mark Lai Branch Library will reopen May 17. The library on Powell Street will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
On May 18, the Mission Bay Branch Library on 4th Street will open. Library hours will be 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.READ MORE: 5 Boats Burn, 4 Destroyed in the Delta Near Bethel Island
Reopened libraries will offer a so-called “Browse and Bounce” approach where patrons will be able to browse for materials and access free public computers for 50 minute sessions, along with printers and photocopiers. Patrons will also be able to get assistance from library staff on borrowing materials and their library accounts.
The SFPL-to-go library pick up service will also continue to operate at 15 city libraries and 4 bookmobiles.
Officials said library staff has aided in the city’s COVID-19 response in many different roles, from serving as contact tracers, to working at food pantries, testing sites and community learning hubs for students.
“Over the past few months, we have been hard at work laying the foundation for an in-person service that follows the latest public health guidance and safety protocols to protect our staff and patrons,” said city librarian Michael Lambert.MORE NEWS: COVID: Service Industry Employers Lament Lack of People Willing to Fill Open Jobs
Additional floors of the Main Library and other neighborhood libraries will reopen as more library staffers return to their pre-pandemic roles.