How the pandemic transformed San Francisco libraries
Millions of fewer books have been borrowed from public libraries in San Francisco due to the pandemic. According to annual circulation data from the San Francisco Public Library, total circulation fell 23% in fiscal 2021 – a period from July 2020 to June 2021. Much of that decline was in physical records , which were not available during pandemic lockdowns.
In March 2020, all branches of the library closed their doors to the public. They remained closed until August 2020, when they began offering a door-to-door pickup service where members could pick up physical documents requested in advance. It was not until May 2021 that libraries started allowing visitors to buildings – a moment of celebration for both members and staff. Nonetheless, members were encouraged to make short visits. The library even removed furniture so people wouldn’t sit down to read.