Library Total Monthly Visitors

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Public Library

Target: 500,000 visitors per month

Result: 510,270 average visitors per month

Library Visitors is a cumulative measure of the number of persons entering the San Francisco Public Library’s (SFPL) Main Library and branch libraries, including Bookmobiles, Jail and Reentry Services, and the Juvenile Justice Center. In addition to circulation, the number of visitors is an important measure of utilization.


How Public Library is Performing

SFPL is currently engaged in a number of initiatives to increase library visits. In FY 2016-17, SFPL expanded to seven days of service per week at all 27 of its branches. In FY 2017-18, SFPL conducted an Open Hours Assessment in conjunction with the Controller’s Office. The resulting analysis of public usage patterns and public input resulted in the pending reallocation of 18 low-traffic hours to high latent demand hours at 11 target branches and the addition of two more hours of service to the Main Library. Those changes are expected to go into effect in January 2019.

Furthermore, the Library’s strategic initiative for Safe & Welcoming Libraries is also focused on improving the safety, cleanliness and security of the internal and external environment of the Main Library and select branch library locations with the highest levels of security incidents. In FY 2017-18, SFPL partnered with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Office to support security staff at the Main Library and provide a safer and more welcoming environment for the public. The Library is also increasing the number of programs and events to meet the needs of patrons for enrichment and lifelong learning opportunities, SFPL is continually evaluating policies and procedures to identify options for removing barriers to access in an effort to increase membership and stimulate greater usage of library services.

Library visits peaked in FY 2013-14 after a majority of the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) projects were completed. Consistent with library usage trends across the industry, visits have decreased steadily since, as increased convenience for patrons in accessing digital collections remotely from home via the library’s virtual presence online and/or on a mobile device have lessened the need for residents to visit a library location in order to check out books, movies and music. SFPL expects that open hours’ reallocation, ongoing public programming offerings, and continued improvements to library facilities and security will increase library visits and better meet the needs of the public.

How Performance is Measured

The target visitor total for FY 2018-19 is set as 6,000,000. Taking into account seasonal variance of monthly visitor totals, the monthly targets have been determined using the averages of the monthly year-over-year percentage changes in visitor numbers since FY 2015-16, as well as the standard deviation of the percentage changes.

The number displayed on the scorecard page represents a fiscal year average of the values in the chart above.

Additional Information

Learn more about the Main and Branch Libraries.


Please visit DataSF for the scorecard data.