The New Main Library is over 376,000 square feet and six floors high with one more floor below. The new library is at Larkin and Grove streets and is more than twice as big as the building it replaced.

In 1986, James Freed finished the design of the main library. They began constructing it on March 15, 1993, at a cost of 109.5 million dollars.The building was completed in 1995 and opened on April 18, 1996. After that the old main library, which had been damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, was renovated as the new Asian Art Museum.

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The new library features over 300 computer terminals. The city spent nearly $140 million on the new library. Library visits nearly doubled in its first year open, from 1.1 million to 2.1 million, and the number of library cardholders nearly tripled.