Category Archives: Library
Construction continues at a brisk pace at Berkeley’s West Branch Library, which is scheduled to re-open in December, after the holidays.
The completion of the West Branch, which is located at 1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo), will mark the end of a four-year overhaul of Berkeley’s branch libraries. Voters passed a $26 million bond measure in 2008 to fund the Branch Library Improvement program. The North and Claremont libraries were re-opened in 2012, and the South Branch was re-opened in May.
The West Branch, like the South Branch, had to be completely demolished and rebuilt. The new 9,300-square-foot library has been built to improve seismic safety and make it fully ADA-accessible. The library has been designed as a Net Zero Energy building to meet LEED criteria. Services in the library have been expanded and enhanced. … Continue reading »
BERKELEY’S JUNETEENTH FESTIVAL The RD Bonds stage will be ringing with music this Sunday as Berkeley celebrates its annual Juneteenth festival, whose roots reach back to the 19th century. Although President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the rebelling Confederate states, in January 1863, news of the signing didn’t reach Galveston, Texas, until two years later on June 19, 1865. The ensuing impromptu party gave birth to the national Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates African American culture and tradition. Sunday’s festivities will include food vendors alongside spoken word and dance performances, a basketball tournament, art for children, and every stripe of music from neo soul to African drumming. The family focused festival will be held in South Berkeley’s five-block Adeline-Alcatraz corridor from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Details at the Berkeley Juneteenth website. … Continue reading »
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. … Continue reading »
It was four days to D-Day and the place was hopping.
Painters rolled on a last coat of paint. IT guys fiddled with computer wire while architects strolled around looking for last minute glitches. Carpenters nailed sheets of plywood to a storage area.
In just a few hours, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was set to open. And, while the bulk of the construction was done, there were numerous small things that hadn’t been completely finished, like the landscaping, shelving all the books, installing all the computers, and the final build-out of the Tool Library.
“We have a lot to do in the next few days but we are feeling good about it,” Donna Corbeil, the city librarian, said on Tuesday. When pressed, though, about whether it would be finished, she took a long pause before answering with a resounding “Yes!” … Continue reading »
Fourteen months after it was closed and torn down, the new South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will reopen on Saturday May 11.
At 12:30 p.m. local officials and library supporters will gather for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1901 Russell Street, right at the intersection of MLK. After that, the library will be open for normal business until 5:00 p.m.
When patrons walk inside the new 8,700 square foot, $6.5 million building, they will see something completely different from the award-winning, but clumsily remodeled, old South Branch building. The ceilings are higher, there are more windows, there are dedicated spaces for computers and other multimedia equipment, as well as more lounge chairs. Copper artwork by artist Gina Dominguez is displayed throughout the building. Solar panels will reduce heating costs.
2012 was a year of big changes for the Berkeley Public Library. Two of its branches, Claremont and North, reopened after extensive remodeling. Two other branches, South and West, closed for their own redos.
As Donna Corbeil, the library’s director, put it in the library’s annual report, “library spaces have moved far beyond the traditional hushed reading room.” Instead of just offering books at brick and mortar locations, the library is providing services to “Berkeley’s continuum of learning and inspiration,” according to Corbeil.
This means lending books, magazines, music, and films the way people want them, whether from traditional paper book format to downloadable eBooks and music, to online digital formats. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Public Library has set up a 25-question survey to get the scoop from local residents about how they see and use library programs, events and facilities.
Starting this week, the Berkeley Public Library is forgiving overdue fines for patrons with outstanding bills and items. The amnesty program, in effect through Saturday, Nov. 17, is a way to bring back books and boost circulation, officials said.
“The reason we’re doing this is not only to try and recover materials that people have been hanging onto for fear of the large fines they’ve accrued,” said Douglas Smith, the library’s deputy director. “We also want to let the community know, people who have been borrowers in the past, that they’re welcome to come back and we miss them. We want people to use the library and not let overdue fines create fear that prevents them from using the resource.”
Smith said the last amnesty took place in early 2008; the library forgave nearly $35,000 in fines at that time. … Continue reading »
A towering redwood tree that was to be the focal point of the garden at the new West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was so damaged by the contractor that it will have to be taken down, library officials announced Tuesday.
The contract with West Bay Builders required the company to take precautions to preserve the root structure of the redwood, but those measures were not followed, according to a letter Donna Corbeil, director of library services, sent out to neighbors. The contractor damaged the roots while excavating around the tree.
Dan Gallagher, the city’s forestry engineer, recently examined the tree’s roots and determined that they were so damaged that the tree is unstable and unhealthy. … Continue reading »
Demolition began Wednesday on the West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on University Avenue and, within a few hours, the bulldozers had knocked down much of the building.
The West Branch, which was constructed in 1923, is being torn down to make way for a larger and more modern building. When completed in 2013, it will be 9,400 square feet, almost a third larger than the old structure. It will also be zero net energy, which means it will produce more energy than it consumes through the solar panels on the roof.
Work is also progressing on the South Branch of the library on Russell Street. Last week construction crews pumped in concrete to form the new foundation. … Continue reading »
After a year of construction, the refurbished Claremont Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will reopen Saturday May 5 at 1 pm with music, food, and greetings by a host of dignitaries.
“We’re so proud of it,” said Donna Corbeil, director of the library. “We are so excited.”
The renovation of the branch paid attention to historical details while installing state-of-the-art equipment that brings the building into the 21st century. The original 1924 entrance has been turned into a huge glass reading nook and the wooden furnishings have been redone, giving the main reading room a classic feel.
There are new computers in the reading room (eight for adults and three for children), an automated book-sorting system, a new heating and cooling system that should better control the library’s temperature and ventilation, and flat screens to see movies, get database training, or develop computer apps. … Continue reading »
The woman who was the only named member of the group in a citizen’s lawsuit against Berkeley’s use of library bond funds has filed a number of lawsuits against her critics.
Judith Epstein, who is part of Concerned Library Users, has filed suits in the Alameda County small claims court against Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore, Pacific Union International, and Julie Nachtwey, a realtor for Pacific Union, according to court documents. The suits all claim that Epstein’s reputation was sullied because of comments the defendants made. Epstein asked for as much as $10,000 in damages, according to court documents.
“Moore made the following false and defamatory statement to the Berkeley Times about those of us who were suing the city of Berkeley over the illegal use of library funds,” Epstein wrote in a declaration to the court. “This placed me in a false light before the public. It was part of a campaign of harassment, bullying, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress with the purpose of trying to get us to drop the lawsuit.” … Continue reading »