Library Service FAQs | Page 2 | Mechanics' Institute

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Library Service FAQs

What can I do with my MI membership during the pandemic?

  1. Borrow library materials through our "To Go" service.

  2. Join a wide variety of Virtual Events, including book groups, author panels, classes, CinemaLit series, seminars and more!

  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 Does MI Library "To Go" Service work?:

  1. MI's no-contact "To Go" service is available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-2  pm at 57 Post Street.  


  2. Members may request books, CDs, DVDs, or audiobooks on CD in the library's catalog or or call 415-393-0101 for staff assistance Monday through Friday, 8:30-4 pm. 

  3. After you place your requests, please wait until MI staff contact you to schedule a pick-up appointment.


  4. Library materials may be returned during your "To Go" appointment OR anytime between 8 am and 6 pm, M-F in the 57 Post St. lobby. If you are unable to leave home, you can return library items by FEDEX, USPS, or UPS to: Mechanics' Institute, 57 Post St., Suite 504, San Francisco, CA 94104.


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


How Do I Return Materials and Why Are They Still on My Account?

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


  2. For the safety of staff and our members, library materials are quarantined for 96 hours before being checked in. Any fees accrued during quarantine time are removed upon check in. 


Why Does it Take Longer to Process my Book/DVD/Material Requests?

  1. Due to public health and safety concerns, library staff are working in a limited capacity.  


  2. We appreciate your patience and understanding. 


Does the Library accept materials donations?

  1. Until further notice, the library cannot accept donated books, magazines, etc. for the health and safety of staff and members. 


When will the Library building reopen?

  1. The Library is currently open by appointment from 2-4 pm on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. Starting May 17, the Library's open hours by appointment will be extended from 12-4 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Call the Circulation desk between 8:30-4 at 415-393-0101 to schedule an appointment to visit.  Also on May 17, "To Go" contactless service will be extended from 12-4 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. 


  2. For a list of available services, please see our Welcome Back! website blog post. For staff and member safety, we encourage you to read the Library's COVID-19 Health and Safety policy before you visit.


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