Extended Closure FAQ | Mechanics' Institute

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Extended Closure FAQ






Dear Members and Friends,

We want to thank you for your understanding and patience as we all continue to adapt to COVID-19 and its impact on our services and programs at Mechanics’ Institute (MI). The State of California and the City and County of San Francisco ‘shelter in place’ orders bring a host of challenges to our work, but, as you may be aware, our 166-year history makes us no stranger to hard times. The Mechanics’ Institute has withstood the City’s toughest moments, such as the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, the 1918 Influenza pandemic, and the North Bay fires, as well as other challenges. As always, we are here for you, and we are doing what we can to serve our members while the Institute is closed.

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

How long will the Institute (including the library, chess room, and events) be closed?

Per the Shelter in Place Order, the Mechanics’ Institute will remain closed until further notice. We will follow national, state, and local directives and keep you apprised on our reopening date.

What resources can I access while the Mechanics’ Institute is closed?

MI has a number of online resources available for our members and are exploring additional ways to share our services.

The Library's abundant digital offerings, including the latest  eBookseAudiobookseMagazines  and tens of thousands of magazine articles, financial information and more can be found in our  research databases  tab on the website. These are available 24/7.

We are also working on plans for online book groups, classes, and writers’ events.

The Chess Club is hosting regular events and classes online. Here is how you can learn more about their programs:

Tournaments: Using Chess.com as our platform, we hold regular weekly events free of charge. These events are designed to keep our chess community together while also bringing in newer players for socializing, competition, and just plain fun. To join our chess events, you must have a Chess.com username and then request to join our online chess club here.

To see our schedule please visit the chess club website  here.

To receive regular notifications of our events, sign up  here.

Please note that you can only start registering for an event an hour prior to the start. You must log in to Chess.com and choose live chess. If you experience any trouble, please email us at [email protected].

Classes: We are now offering online instruction for our scholastic players. These small group classes of up to eight (8) students are designed for beginners who are new to tournaments up to and including players who are rated around 700. To learn more about our online class offerings, click here.

Our Events department is currently exploring ways to offer online programming and should have something to present to our members shortly.

What if my items are due during the closure? Will I accrue late fees?

No, you will not accrue late fees during the closure. All materials due from March 14, 2020 through April 30, 2020 are now due on May 15, 2020. If our library is closed past this date, we will adjust our due date accordingly, giving at least one week after our opening for due date extension.

Can I drop off my materials in the MI lobby book drop?

Due to staffing limitations as a result of the ‘shelter in place' order, we have had to close our book drop temporarily. We will let you know when it reopens. In the meantime, all due dates for your borrowed materials have been extended.

What if I have some materials on hold waiting for pick up?

We will extend the period that all items remain on hold so that you have plenty of time to pick them up after we reopen. Please disregard the Pick-Up by Date listed in your hold notice.

My MI membership card is about to expire. How can I renew it?

MI memberships with expiration dates during the ‘shelter in place’ order will be extended to the end of our closure. We will reach back out regarding renewals once we have reopened.

Additional questions:

If you have any questions about your library account or how to access digital resources, please email [email protected] or call 415-393-0102. We will respond to inquiries as soon as possible.

If you have questions about our chess club or would like to join an online tournament please email [email protected]

If you have questions about your membership, please email  [email protected]

Thank you for your support and understanding. We are looking forward to welcoming you back through our doors when we reopen.



Kimberly Scrafano

Executive Director


Posted on Mar. 27, 2020 by Kimberly Scrafano