West Portal Library Branch

WEST PORTAL (415) 355-2886
190 Lenox Way (at Ulloa) 94127
M: 1-6; T: 10-9; W: 10-9; Th: 10-9; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-5

27 branches

This is one of my favorite places to read quietly. The children’s area is to the right, and the noise doesn’t leak into the adult area. There are tables with charging areas for adults to read and charge at the same time. The tables are close to the restroom, so it’s easy to be there for hours. Also, there are couches if you don’t need to charge. They are comfortable and it is easy to read there, too.

This is also an easy spot for an Uber pickup or to catch the K, L, or M streetcar. Down the street are many restaurants and shops, and a movie theater and bookstore. It’s a perfect place to spend a day visiting.

Park Library Branch

27 branches

This is the branch that I haven’t visited, but I am way too familiar with. When I send holds to the Parkside Branch, about 5% of the time, the hold ends up at the Park Branch. One of these days, I’ll have to find out where the Park Branch is, so I can retrieve my misguided holds.

PARK (415) 355-5656
1833 Page St. (at Cole) 94117
M: 12-6; Tu: 10-9; W: 1-9; Th: 10-6; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-5

Sunset Library Branch

27 branches

SUNSET (415) 355-2808
1305 18th Ave. (at Irving) 94122
M: 10-6; Tu: 10-8; W: 10-8; Th: 10-8; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-5
Children’s Room (415) 355-2818

I dropped by here quickly yesterday, since I’d never been inside. It was smaller than I anticipated. The outside makes it look like an old time post office. It has a ten minute parking zone outside, which I appreciated.

I went inside and looked around. There were plenty of seats for adults, with outlets for laptops and phones. There’s a teen section, from 3-6 pm on weekdays. The adults can use it with permission if it’s available. According to the contact info, there’s a children’s area, but I didn’t see it. I’ll have to wander back to locate it. But, it seems it’s far enough away from the adult section to keep it quieter than other libraries.

Other than limited parking outside, this branch of the library would be ideal for quiet work.

Ortega library branch

ORTEGA (415) 355-5700
3223 Ortega St. (at 39th Ave.) 94122
M: 10-6; Tu: 10-6; W: 1-9; Th: 12-9; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-5

27 branches

I came here for an event about Alcatraz. I went early to get things done. There is plenty of seating, but, with the middle school and high school right up the street and around the corner, it was full of kids. Loud kids. Free babysitting until the parents get off work?

The event was being held in “the meeting room” but I couldn’t find the meeting room when I arrived. I did find the bathroom immediately, thank goodness. I asked the librarian where the meeting room is, and she pointed to the room labeled “programs.” She seemed surprised that I didn’t immediately know that the meeting room wasn’t labeled “meeting room.”

Other than the kids after school, this a nice place to sit and read. There are plenty of places for adults to sit, unlike the Parkside branch. I had to wait a little while for a table with a plug to charge my kindle,but it wasn’t long. The kids cleared out by around 5:15, so it wasn’t bad at all.

Merced Library Branch

27 branches

MERCED (415) 355-2825
155 Winston Dr. (at 19th Ave.) 94132
M: 10-6; Tu: 10-9; W: 1-9; Th: 10-8; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-6

This branch is the easiest to return books into its drop slot. There’s a green zone right outside to park, run and drop off the books. It’s on a one way street, so there are occasionally drivers who don’t seem to understand that you can not make a u turn here.

I haven’t been in to spend much time there, but the layout made sense. I didn’t check for reading spaces, because when I was there, I was only looking around, not spending time there. I’ll give it a look one of these days.

Peninsula Library System

The Peninsula Library System has 35 branches. San Mateo County, which is where the branches are, is bigger than San Francisco County, which only has 27 branches of its library.

I am going to make a goal of hitting all of the branches of both library systems. No time limit, though. I have already been to several of the branches, so I am not as overwhelmed as I could be.

The website is set up so it’s easy to look up library hours by location. I will start my tour soon.

Member Libraries

Parkside Library Branch

PARKSIDE (415) 355-5770
1200 Taraval St. (at 22nd Ave.) 94116
M: 1-6; Tu: 10-9; W: 12-9; Th: 10-6; F: 1-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 1-5

Other than the main library, of the 27 library branches, this is where I spend library time. There is usually short term parking in front, so I can run in, drop off my returns, and pick up my holds. I use the self checkout, so I don’t bother anyone. There’s a restroom here, so I usually get in there between the time I drop off and the time I pick up. Occasionally, someone is bathing in the bathroom, and that doesn’t bother me unless they get the whole floor wet.

There isn’t reading space here, since only the middle section is for adults, and it’s small. The large area to the left of the front door, is for children. It is always packed and adults can only go in if accompanied by a child. The area to the right is for teens only. You can go in to pick up your holds, or pass through to use the restroom, but you can only sit and read there if you are a teen.

Other library branches do better with allowing for readers. The main library and West Portal are very welcoming to readers, but I haven’t been to all of the other branches yet.

SF Main Library

When I was a kid, the main library was fascinating.  It was so huge, it was overwhelming.  I don’t remember much of it from way back then, but I remember endless card catalogs, and looking around and seeing books and books and books.

They remodeled it, and there were years that I didn’t go there.  I found out about programs that were hosted there, so I started going more frequently.  It’s very easy to get to on public transportation, and there’s always a free show by some local crazy person going on in the lobby and occasionally in the bathroom.

I do go there to read quite frequently, but I stay away from the fourth floor where the foreign language books are kept.  People listen to and repeat the language they are trying to learn.  I read on the 5th floor, and there’s usually an interesting display on the 6th floor.  I find enough to keep me busy there for hours.

MAIN LIBRARY (415) 557-4400
100 Larkin St. (at Grove) 94102
M: 9-6; Tu: 9-8; W: 9-8; Th: 9-8; F: 12-6;
Sat: 10-6; Sun: 12-6

27 branches