Mission Branch Library

300 Bartlett Street
San Francisco, CA 94110



Mission Branch Library was the first branch established in the San Francisco Public Library system. It was opened in 1888 in a storefront two blocks from its present location. The fire following the 1906 earthquake destroyed the Main Library and eight branch libraries but stopped four blocks north of Mission Branch, one of only four branch buildings to survive the earthquake. After the disaster, however, a change of location was forced upon the branch when the scarcity of commercial property resulted in high rent increases for the existing Branch quarters. A new site for the Branch was found nearby one year later.

A lot was purchased for $12,000 at the corner of 24th and Bartlett Streets. In 1914, construction began under the supervision of architect G. Albert Lansburgh and funded by a grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Cost for the building and furnishings was $50,877. Mission Branch Library was reopened in December 1915.

A major renovation of Mission Branch Library was begun in 1997. To meet modern code standards the building, built of un-reinforced masonry, required structural reinforcement as well as disabled access. Electrical, heating and roofing systems were also upgraded at that time. The building’s façade and second floor were preserved, but the first floor was completely redesigned, and the main entrance was relocated from 24th Street to Bartlett Street. New furnishings and computers were installed for the reopening on May 5, 1999.

The renovation was funded by the Library Improvement Bond, which was passed in 1988 to build a new Main Library and renovate branches. Nearly $700,000 of additional funding came from a federal Library Services and Construction Act grant administered by the California State Library. Additional city bond funds from the Earthquake Safety Program were also utilized to complete the project.

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