Library Total Monthly Visitors

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Public Library

Target: 558,333 visitors per month

Result: 516,376 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, Log Cabin Ranch, 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. The FY 2016-17 budget supports the expansion of operating hours at fifteen branch libraries, with nine locations seeing an additional day of service, bringing all twenty-seven branches to seven days a week of service. The budget also supports additional operating hours at the Main library’s teen digital media lab, The Mix at SFPL. Additionally, the Library’s strategic initiative for Safe & Welcoming Libraries is 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. 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 the library services.

SFPL has seen a slight decline in the volume of visits to library locations since 2011, consistent with the experience of urban libraries from around the country. According to the most recent San Francisco City Survey on library usage, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents have visited a branch library, visited the Main Library, and/or used the library's online resources in the previous twelve months, as opposed to 73 percent in 2011 and 75 percent in 2013. .

Library visits peaked in fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 after a majority of the Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP) projects were completed. 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. After a substantial drop in visits from FY 2013-14 to FY 2014-15, the number of persons entering the Main Library and branches has stabilized at nearly 7,000,000 visitors annually.

How Performance is Measured

People counters are located at all entrance and exit gates at the branch and main libraries. Reports on the number of visitors are generated monthly.

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.