Berkeley Public Library South Branch: The opening

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

Library staffers, supporters and Berkeley officials (including Mayor Tom Bates, fifth from left) cut the ribbon at the official opening of the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on Saturday, May 11. Photo: Richard Friedman

Saturday May 11 saw the official opening of the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on MLK Jr. Way and Russell St.

The library, designed by architects Field Paoli at a cost of $6.5 million, includes the city’s Tool Lending Library. It is significantly larger than the old library building and energy efficient. Supporters, library-goers and Berkeley government officials turned out in force to mark the occasion.

Read about the new library in our May 11 story.

Scroll down to see photos by Richard Friedman, and view a full gallery of his photographs here.

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

Berkeley citizens turned out in high numbers to welcome their new library. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

City Librarian Donna Corbeil addresses the crowd, that included councilmen Kriss Worthington (sitting, left) and Max Anderson (sitting, right) on Saturday. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

At 8,700 sq ft, the new library is significantly bigger than the old building. It also has a soaring atrium with clerestory windows and maple ceilings. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

Councilman Darryl Moore addresses the crowd gathered at the new South Branch Library. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

Visitors enter the new library for the first time. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

Comfortable furniture and lots of natural light in the entrance atrium area of the new library. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

The Tool Library has been expanded and there is now ample room for all the wrenches, hammers, drills, and ladders. Photo: Richard Friedman

Berkeley Public Library South Branch Reopening

The library includes a new children’s room. Photo: Richard Friedman

Related:
Renovated Claremont library branch opens Saturday [05.03.12]
Never let it be said that Berkeley doesn’t love its libraries [04.09.12]
Gleaming new North Branch Library to open Saturday [04.03.12]
Dates set for reopening of North and Claremont branches [02.14.12]
New addition to North Branch Library almost complete [02.02.12]
Berkeley’s Claremont Library reopening delayed two months [12.07.11]
Berkeley settles contentious library lawsuit [09.06.11]
A peek at the renovations at Berkeley’s branch libraries [08.16.11]
Berkeleyans rally to move forward on library renovations [04.27.11]

To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, check out Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.s.young.9 Naomi Sultana Young

    Gorgeous, gorgeous new library. A real gem. Still can’t believe why anyone would have wanted to hang on to the old building and delay this process. So very grateful to the planning and design team, the builders, the voters, the city government, the librarians and the community for making this into a reality. To say it is an improvement over the old one would be a vast understatement. We were there Saturday and it was delightful to see the diversity of ages, races, mobility, cultures, languages, etc. It will be well-used by the community.

  • wheeler57

    It will be great to finally have a branch library in South Berkeley that is wheelchair accessible. The old library was so out of compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) that it wasn’t funny. I wasn’t able to use it for at least 20 years, and I was getting very sick and tired of having to ride all the way downtown whenever I wanted to use the library.

  • Shannon A.

    The fact that *they* (whoever they were) only held up the reconstruction of the two libraries in the poorer parts of Berkeley (South and West) says it all.

    As you say, the new library is great. I loved the high ceilings and the big windows, which made it feel very open and welcoming.