Library Service FAQs | Mechanics' Institute

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Library Service FAQs

What can I do with my MI membership?

  1. Visit the library and check out materials, use the public computers, and read or do research. Currently, the library is open Monday-Friday from 12-6 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm. Face coverings are not required for vaccinated individuals but we ask unvaccinated members or visitors to wear a face mask while in the building per the City of San Francisco Health Order

  2. Join a wide variety of Virtual Events, including book groups, author panels, classes, CinemaLit series, seminars and more! (Some events are in person). 

  3. Use the library's digital resources 24/7, including downloadable e-Books, e-Audiobooks, e-Magazines/Newspapers, and research databases. If you need assistance with downloading content or have questions about digital resources, call the library at 415-393-0102 or x101 M-F or email: [email protected]. We will respond as quickly as possible. 

  4. Participate in Chess.

  5. Read our blog for seasonal reading lists, new books and staff picks!

How Can I Reserve Library Materials?:

  1. Members may request books, CDs, DVDs, magazines, or audiobooks on CD in the library's catalog or by calling 415-393-0101 for staff assistance Monday through Friday, from 12-6 pm and Saturdays from 10-3 pm. You can reach us by email at [email protected].

  2. After you place your requests, you will receive an email when the item is available for pick up on the library's second floor service desk.


  3. If you are out of the area, you may return library items by FEDEX, USPS, or UPS to: Mechanics' Institute, 57 Post St., Suite 504, San Francisco, CA 94104.

  4. If you are homebound due to illness, you may be eligible for the Library's Homebound Outreach service. 


How Do I Return Materials When the Library is Closed?

  1. Library materials can be returned to the lobby book drop Monday-Friday between 8 am and 6 pm and on Saturdays from 10-3 pm. The building is closed on Sundays and on holidays.

Who to Contact at MI

Chess Inquiries - 415-393-0110 or [email protected] 

CinemaLit and Events Questions - 415-393-0114 or [email protected]

Fines or other library account issues - [email protected] or call 415-393-0101.

Library Events, book clubs, virtual programs,etc.- 415-393-0102 or [email protected]  

Membership - 415-393-0105 or [email protected] 


Posted on Jul. 9, 2020 by Celeste Steward