Last Updated: Jan 03, 2020     Views: 115

Between 2000 and 2014, the San Francisco Public Library renovated or constructed 24 branch libraries. The Mission, Chinatown and Ocean View branches were not part of that program. In 2018, the Library together with San Francisco Public Works, looked at the needs of these three branches and analyzed the cost and practicality of improving their spaces to better serve the community. This study recommended renovating the Mission Branch, primarily because the branch lacks space to hold quality programs and the building mechanical and electrical systems are at the end of their service life.

What are some of the issues for the Mission Branch Library? 

No designated area for community programs.  Too few public restrooms.  No dedicated Teen Area.  Confusing first floor layout.  Mechanical and electrical building systems are at the end of their service life.  Furnishings and shelving are not movable for flexible spaces.  Staff areas are in various locations – not consolidated for maximum efficiency.

What are preliminary design ideas? 

Preserve historic Carnegie reading room.  Increase the square footage with a small addition.  Provide a flexible community program/meeting space.  Replace building mechanical systems.  Restore original historic entrance and main stairs.  Upgrade and add restrooms.  Improve access into and through the branch.  Make it easier for staff to view all areas of the building.  Create flexible spaces.

What is the budget for Mission Branch Library project? 

The Library’s budget includes $19.8 million to fully fund the planning, design and construction of the Mission Branch Library renovation. In addition, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library will be raising funds from private donations to help pay for the furniture, fixtures and equipment.

What is the timeline? 

We held the first community engagement meetings in May and June 2018. Additional community meetings will occur in fall 2018, followed by design development, construction drawings and bid/award phases. Construction is estimated to begin fall 2019.

Will the branch close during construction?

Yes, during renovation the branch will be closed temporarily for approximately 18 – 25 months. Library services will be provided by holding programs at alternative locations in the neighborhood and/or offering bookmobile service.

Is the Mission Branch Library an historic building? 

Yes, the Mission Branch was designated a San Francisco Landmark in 2004. The library, one of seven Carnegie branches, opened in 1915 and was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh.

What are the guiding design principals for the Mission Branch Library renovation? 

21st Century Libraries 

Update branches to enable SFPL’s skilled library staff to provide library services to the public now and in the future.

Flexible & Adaptable Building Designs

Create spaces that can easily transform to serve community needs through flexible and adaptable design and furnishings.

Multifunctional Community Meeting Spaces

Incorporate multifunctional community meeting spaces and program rooms into the designs for the Mission Branch.

Transparency & Ease of Wayfinding

Make visits to the Library easy and straightforward for the public through improved wayfinding signage and design incorporating the design principle of transparency – seeing into and out from our branch libraries and seeing across these community space – when possible.

Preservation of Historic Carnegie Libraries

Preserve the Mission Branch, an historic, landmarked Carnegie Library.

How do I get involved? 

The Library will host a series of meetings for the public throughout the design phase of the project.  
Upcoming meetings will be announced on the Library Improvements for Tomorrow – Mission Branch page of the Library’s website:
To receive email notifications about engagement opportunities, send an email to