San Francisco Public Library To Launch Curbside Pick-Up Service

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 12: Books line the shelves during the official opening of the new Christchurch central library, Turanga, on October 12, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Photo credit Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

The San Francisco Public Library is launching SFPL To Go, a curbside pick-up service that gives patrons a contact-free way to check-out books during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Patrons can reserve materials, and then we will arrange to prepackage them in bags and then they can come pick them up at our front doors,” Kate Patterson, Director of Communications at SFPL, said. 

Patterson told KCBS Radio that the library will follow safety protocols, including social distancing and face covering requirements.  

She said that the items people are borrowing will be isolated once they’re returned by a patron. 

“So, they’ll basically go in the bin, and no one's going to touch them for 96 hours,” Patterson said. “And then, they will be handled with gloves and they’ll be put in individualized, sealed bags.” 

Patterson added that the system does have a lot of reservations to go through, as the program gets going.

"We just want people to be prepared, that there's going to, probably, be a little bit of a lag time, but we're working as fast as possible to get books in people's hands," she said.

The library has expanded digital access since the pandemic began in March, but Patterson noted that it's important to get the branches up and running again. 

“There's a lot of people who just really love to hold a physical book, or maybe they want to check out a record or maybe they don’t have high speed internet, so it's not possible for them to stream things and they really want to check out DVDs,” she said. 

Those with a library account can request circulating items by phone, email or online

SFPL To Go begins Monday, Aug. 10 at the Main Library, with other branches to follow.