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San Francisco Public Library

Civic Center, San Francisco
  • The experts at SFGate and SF Weekly recommend this place
    • SFGate
    • SF Weekly
  • V
    "I can focus more on work and less on catching something."(4 Tips)
    Serena P.
    "If you want to be quiet and focus, get a study room!"(5 Tips)
    Tom M.
    "The 6th floor history center is where to go."(2 Tips)
    "6th floor history room is a true city treasure."(2 Tips)
73 Tips and reviews
  • books
  • focus
  • history center
  • study area
  • quiet
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  • Recent
  • Popular
  • Michel Alexandre S.
    The main floors can be noisy, but there are quiet nooks (for example on the fourth floor) where one can read undisturbed
  • Keith F.
    Keith FlippinJune 8
    Been here 50+ times
    Don't sit in quiet, out of the way corners with your electronics out: apparently, people exist who will quietly threaten you with death if you don't give them up. Just heard a report, not me.
  • Travis W.
    Travis WiseFebruary 24
    Huge selection of audiobooks and ebooks.
  • Travis W.
    Travis WiseFebruary 24
    Any California resident can get a library card.
  • Chloe C.
    Chloe CondonSeptember 16, 2016
    Been here 5+ times
    Great library, a lot of homeless going in/out using the restroom and sleeping in the study areas.
  • Kevin W.
    Kevin WuSeptember 7, 2016
    Seems nice, but lots of shady characters.
  • Kelly W.
    Kelly WongAugust 19, 2016
    Really nice library, but not in the greatest location. Be aware of your surrounding if you are visiting.
  • Maxim V.
    Maxim VosJuly 31, 2016
    Just another public library
  • Nana
    NanaMay 8, 2016
    Loved this place! I didn't know the membership was free. It's so clean and well maintained. Window views are the best unfortunately they're all take by homeless people for a quick nap 👀
  • Jim R.
    Jim RayMarch 12, 2016
    There's a kids-only bathroom in the kids area that's a little hidden. Perfect for families.
  • Andre B.
    Andre BeaumontMarch 6, 2016
    The Lego workshops are great fun for the kids.
  • Fodor's Travel
    Fodor's TravelJanuary 28, 2016
    San Francisco City Guides is a volunteer organization run by local residents and sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library. They lead terrific walking tours of various neighborhoods and focuses. Read more
  • Renée V.
    Renée VargasJanuary 24, 2016
    Visit the 6th floor for a history of San Francisco
  • Tom M.
    Tom MaxwellOctober 24, 2015
    The 6th floor history center is where to go. That's where the earliest maps of SF are. You have to turn over your ID and any bags before you can enter this room.
  • Carlos R.
    Carlos RohrerSeptember 28, 2015
    Horrible wifi!
  • Bommy C.
    Bommy ChaSeptember 4, 2015
    Nice space but lots of weirdos hanging around.
  • Tim P.
    Tim PursellJuly 15, 2015
    Been here 5+ times
    Most disgusting bathrooms in the city. Understandable considering the volume. People we need public restrooms. A building devoted to clean restrooms. Oh yeah -- there are books here too.
  • Lisa
    LisaMarch 2, 2015
    Large library but hate that the restrooms are only on first floor. Doesn't make sense!
  • Bennett W W.
    Bennett W WongOctober 23, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    Another ultimate study spot
  • Tariq A.
    Tariq AhmadSeptember 29, 2014
    Even if you don't check out any books, just getting a view of the atrium and looking up at the multiple floors is worth it.
  • Serena P.
    Serena PerfettoAugust 21, 2014
    Been here 5+ times
    If you want to be quiet and focus, get a study room! Too crowded with weird people sometimes!
  • FunCheap SF
    FunCheap SFJuly 23, 2014
    Do something different today and bring your lunch to the San Francisco Main Library today to watch a screening of "The House on Telegraph Hill." Thur, 7/24, 12p-2pm, free. Read more
  • FunCheap SF
    FunCheap SFJuly 16, 2014
    Grab lunch and see the 1950's sci-fi thriller "It Came from Beneath the Sea" playing at the San Francisco Public Library today. Thur, 7/17, 12pm, free. Read more
  • Yosun C.
    Yosun ChangApril 28, 2014
    Original Copy of Dante's Divine Comedy (1507 edition) in rare books. Watch Wordlens fail! XD
  • Don J.
    Don JJanuary 26, 2014
    Been here 10+ times
    There are better restrooms in the basement by the cafe 😜
  • Beegan
    BeeganOctober 15, 2013
    The homeless people are actually less annoying here vs. other SF library locations.
  • Lucas V.
    Lucas VernonSeptember 14, 2013
    So many homeless people!
  • Doug A.
    Doug AHAugust 18, 2013
    Incredible architecture!
  • Mohammad Y.
    Mohammad YoussefAugust 16, 2013
    Been here 25+ times
    The worst wifi I've ever experienced! Keeps disconnecting and it gets over the nerves
  • Ron C.
    Ron CohenJuly 9, 2013
    Quiet cafe in the basement
  • Vernon
    VernonJune 2, 2013
    The toilets stink!
  • Elara B.
    Elara BreckenridgeMarch 30, 2013
    Good Turkey Supreme Sandwiches in the Mint.
  • Sangodogbon A.
    Great place for a program
  • V
    VFebruary 27, 2013
    Been here 10+ times
    This is why u should bring your own Lysol wipes... I can focus more on work and less on catching something. :)
  • V
    VFebruary 12, 2013
    Been here 10+ times
    I bring my Lysol wipes here every time.
  • Sangodogbon A.
    Sangodogbon AkinsogaFebruary 1, 2013
    Nice place to have a meeting.
  • Tyson Q.
    Tyson QuickJanuary 30, 2013
    Been here 25+ times
    There are really nice glass study rooms on each floor that significantly reduce sound in and out. Highly recommended to get shit done that requires focus!
  • Will 李.
    Will 李January 26, 2013
    Been here 5+ times
    Chinese section in the International area on the 3rd floor. 華人部分
  • Thee C.
    Thee ChaparralianSeptember 20, 2012
    The library is offering some pretty good jobs classes:
  • eh?
    eh?August 23, 2012
    By far the city's busiest public toilet! It rivals any gas station's hands down.
  • Mister D.
    Mister DrewMay 1, 2012
    Despite half of the citys homeless living here during open hours.... I love it
  • Patrick M. L.
    Patrick M. LozeauApril 9, 2012
    Really good wifi. Accessible to people that are not from SF. Better than what I had at my hotel.
  • SFPL L.
    SFPL LibraryApril 9, 2012
    On the 6th Fl through 5/31/12 - Innocents Abroad: the Main Library’s annual humor exhibit explores the book hunting activities of a fervent bibliophile in the first half of the 20th century.
  • Mat
    MatMarch 30, 2012
    6th floor history room is a true city treasure.
  • Katie I.
    Katie I.March 24, 2012
    The higher up in the library you go, the cleaner the bathrooms are likely to be.
  • Jacquinn S.
    Jacquinn ScalesMarch 23, 2012
    Been here 5+ times
    African-American section 3rd floor
  • SFPL L.
    SFPL LibraryJanuary 11, 2012
    On the 6th Floor, check out the San Francisco History Center, containing a research collection of books, newspapers, magazines, photographs, maps, and more documenting San Francisco life and history.
  • Jacquinn S.
    Jacquinn ScalesNovember 10, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Great books on 3rd floor in African-American section. Can't check them out though they're only used as reference books. :(
  • Jacquinn S.
    Jacquinn ScalesOctober 13, 2011
    Been here 5+ times
    Pee and boo boo before you arrive cause the men's bathroom is nasty!
  • Judy T.
    Judy TuanSeptember 7, 2011
    Did you know that the SF Library has conference rooms? See !
  • Jonathan
    JonathanAugust 31, 2011
    Watch ur step in the gross bathrooms here.
  • Independent Lens | PBS
    Independent Lens | PBSAugust 22, 2011
    Did you know that ITVS Community Cinema offers free films every month in the Koret Auditorium, downstairs in the SF Public Library. Check out the listings online & join us at the next screening. Read more
  • The Bold Italic
    The Bold ItalicMay 31, 2011
    The top floor has an outdoor patio, complete with benches and potted flowers. Read more
  • SF Weekly
    SF WeeklyMay 24, 2011
    SF Weekly’s Best Of 2011 Winner – Editorial Pick – BEST CHANCE TO GET DRUNK AT THE LIBRARYThe Friends of SF Public Library's IMBIBE series offer literary thrill-seekers a chance to drink... Read more
  • Library Vixen
    Library VixenMarch 24, 2011
    Been here 100+ times
    There are bathrooms on the lower level, the main floor, the 3rd floor , and for children in the children's center (key required). Avoid 1 st floor bath rooms.
  • Larry C.
    Larry CMarch 21, 2011
    Great SF historical and archive collection in the 6th floor.
  • Ruddha C.
    Ruddha CAMarch 5, 2011
    Been here 10+ times
    Imagine a 24 hour library...
  • Lesly S.
    Lesly SimmonsJanuary 26, 2011
    Bathrooms are only on the lower level and 1st floor.
  • Jonathan C.
    Jonathan ChanDecember 31, 2010
    Good place to hangout for those who need to save money, eat , and look at exhibits at one place
  • Brett P.
    Brett PanterNovember 25, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    Do not use the bathrooms
  • Ray Q.
    Ray QuirolgicoNovember 17, 2010
    Been here 5+ times
    Free public WiFi throughout building best on east sides of upper floors.
  • Eric C.
    Eric CastroSeptember 30, 2010
    Been here 25+ times
    The best spots for a long read are in the northwest and southwest rotundas; the higher the floor, the quieter.
  • June L.
    June LinSeptember 30, 2010
    It smells weird.
  • Bobby M.
    Bobby MSeptember 4, 2010
    Been here 25+ times
    Avoid the men's room at all cost
  • Library Vixen
    Library VixenAugust 21, 2010
    Been here 100+ times
    Check out the free standing cardboard cut-out of KISS in the AV center. Read more
  • Dora
    DoraJune 30, 2010
    The Asian Art Museum is just a block away, at 200 Larkin. Admission is always free for kids ages 12 and under. Bop on over after your library visit. Powered by Read more
  • Laurel H.
    Laurel HalbanyJune 19, 2010
    Been here 25+ times
    After you check out your books, head to the basement cafe for a quiet lunch.
  • SFGate
    SFGateJanuary 29, 2010
    Don't miss the 3rd floor Gay & Lesbian Center, a treasure chest of historic LGBT photos, pulp paperbacks, local artifacts and more. Read more
  • Lloyd F.
    Lloyd FrancisJanuary 12, 2010
    A refuge for a writer......
  • Megan
    MeganJanuary 12, 2010
    Been here 10+ times
    If you have a kid with you, DO NOT USE THE 1st FLOOR BATHROOMS. Sorry for shouting but they are scary. There are kid bathrooms in the children's room. Ask the librarian for the key.
  • Rish M.
    Rish MehtaDecember 24, 2009
    Bring purell!
  • Melissa G.
    Melissa GordonAugust 19, 2009
    4th Floor "Study Area" go to Index Table 1 for the Culinary Reference section.
  • Cristyam O.
    Cristyam OtavianoJanuary 7, 2012
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