San Francisco Public Library Open Hours Study

The Library Preservation Fund, renewed by Proposition D (November 2007), requires that the Library Commission assess and modify as appropriate the hours of operation (“open hours”) of the Main and branch libraries at least once every five years. The library is required by San Francisco City Charter Section 16.109(f) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of needs regarding service hours; including conducting mandated public hearings in each supervisorial district.  Corey, Canapary & Galanis (CC&G) was contracted to provide some of the information for this assessment.

There were several components to the survey effort:

  1. Structured Survey: a patron intercept survey of 4,586 Library patrons, conducted by CC&G from August 23, 2017, through September 17, 2017.
    1. Interviewers were stationed at the entrance(s) of library branches to conduct the survey with patrons entering or leaving each library location. CC&G sampled every library at least 3 times during this period, including at least one morning/daytime shift, at least one late afternoon/evening shift, and at least one weekend shift.
    2. Interviewers were trained on a random selection protocol which ensured that a broad cross-section of respondents were approached to do the survey. In most cases, interviewers conducted the survey with respondents; however, respondents also had the option of completing a paper survey on their own and turning it in, as well as completing the survey online. Respondents were asked to complete the survey no more than once, and numerous measures were taken to minimize/avoid duplicate participation.
    3. Each branch was surveyed so that a minimum of 100 surveys were collected. The results from this survey are weighted (based on average daily visitors by branch).
    4. Surveys were conducted in English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and Tagalog.


  1. Public Input Survey: a less formal survey of 643 patrons, conducted by CC&G from August 23, 2017, through November 17, 2017. This survey used the same survey questionnaire as the Structured Survey, but was not administered in a controlled, randomized way. Respondents participating in this survey included: [1]
    1. Library patrons who were at the library during the Structured Survey but were not included in the sampling protocol.
    2. Library patrons who were not at the library during the Structured Survey interviewing but wished to participate.
    3. Surveys distributed by library staff.
    4. Patrons who attended any of the 11 public meetings (October 24, 2017 through November 15, 2017) on initial results were also offered an opportunity to participate in this portion of the survey.
    5. Respondents who were initially selected as part of the Structured Survey, but completed their survey after September 30, 2017 (when data processing of the Structured Survey was under way for presentation to the public).
    6. The Library also placed the online link on their website and encouraged patrons who wanted to provide feedback that this was available.


  1. Library Staff Survey: an online survey of 534 San Francisco Public Library staff, covering many of the same topics as the patron survey, but from an employee point of view, with an emphasis on obtaining the opinions of public-facing staff. This survey was administered from September 12, 2017, through October 1, 2017.


  1. Public Input: public input from 11 community meetings, held from October 24, 2017 through November 15, 2017 in each Supervisorial District. The purpose of these meetings was to present preliminary results (from the Structured Survey) and invite additional participation in the survey (as public input). Members of the public also had an opportunity to provide comments and questions as they pertained to the consideration of open hours throughout the San Francisco Public Library system.


The study report can be found at