Category Archives: Library

Free events celebrate Berkeley’s revamped libraries

Kids browse the bookshelves at the December 2014 opening of the South Branch. Photo: Richard Friedman
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Call it a “library warming.”

As a way to celebrate the completion of its branch renovation campaign – and highlight the dozens of community programs it presents each month – the Berkeley Public Library is hosting a month-long party.

The Branch Out! celebration will bring concerts, art exhibits, pop-up libraries at food truck gatherings, a sleepover party for stuffed animals, mindfulness meditation, and that beloved event – author readings – and much more to a branch near you in April. … Continue reading »

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Lawsuit yields money for historic preservation in Berkeley

Concerned Library Users did not want Berkeley to tear down the old South Branch because they and others considered it historically significant.
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Berkeley residents may soon see the fruits of a legal settlement between the city and a group that sued over plans to tear down and rebuild two branch libraries.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that it will award $87,000 in grant money to historic places in South and West Berkeley. The money can be used for maintenance, physical improvements, and preservation of historic properties.

The Trust is encouraging “properties with a clear public benefit that are open to the public on at least a part-time basis,” to apply online by May 15 for grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. … Continue reading »

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The most adorable photos you’ll see today: Paws to Read

Photo: Nancy Rubin
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Seriously, the Paws to Read program at the Berkeley Public Library’s North Branch is inspired. Those dogs really do seem to be listening to the kids reading to them — from appropriate books, of course, like Stick Dog Wants a Hot Dog and Bones and The Dog Gone Mystery — and the children practice oral fluency, spend time with a friendly dog, and have fun.

The program, which runs weekly for kindergarten through 5th-grade kids, sees children reading aloud to a gentle dog provided by TherapyPets, a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization based in Oakland.

Berkeleyside contributing photographer Nancy Rubin dropped by on Tuesday this week to capture the event.

The library says the goal is to help build a child’s self-esteem and confidence, as well as foster a fondness for reading. We just say, “Awww.” … Continue reading »

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New $7.5M Berkeley West Branch library to open Saturday

The adult seating area has comfortable furniture and tables made by Berkeley-based Swerve. There is an abundance of natural light, too. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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When the new West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opens on Saturday Dec. 14, officials hope that it not only becomes a place for people to take out books, but a community center that allows people to collaborate and build their businesses.

The new 9,300 square foot, $7.5 million structure at 1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo) — first net-zero library in California – will have the largest community meeting room in the branch system. It can hold up to 100 people and it can be configured for video conferences and computer coding, as well as for meetings. There are numerous electrical outlets near the tables to accommodate laptops (which are also available for use) and a long counter that faces out onto the small garden holding a newly planted cork oak tree.

“It’s really not a traditional community reading room but an extension of the library,” said Library Director Donna Corbeil as she pointed to the glass wall that separates the meeting room from the rest of the building. … Continue reading »

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News

Berkeley’s West Branch library to re-open in December

Berkeley's West Branch Library under construction. Photo: Eli Wolfe
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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 »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Juneteenth jump rope. Photo: Esteban Allard-Valdivieso.
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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 »

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Berkeley Public Library South Branch: The opening

The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opened in May 2013. Photo: Richard Friedman
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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 »

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New South Branch library to open in Berkeley on Saturday

Officials will gather at 12:30 p.m. May 11 to officially open the new  South Branch library. This is the entrance. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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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 »

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News

New South Branch of Berkeley library to open on May 11

This picture of the southern exterior is taken looking east from the corner of Russell and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Photo: Berkeley Public Libray
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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.

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Berkeley library stays relevant with shift to digital

Library
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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 »

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Local stars come out for the Berkeley Public Library

BPLF Authors Dinner 2013 - Berkeley CA.
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By Mal Warwick

Who knew? Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart isn’t just a musician. It turns out he’s also a musicologist of considerable note, and he’s collaborating with neurologists to conduct research on the potential use of rhythm to reawaken brain function in people with dementia. Hart’s brief conversation in the spotlight with Event Chair Linda Schacht Gage at Saturday’s 11th Annual Berkeley Public Library Foundation Authors Dinner was the hit of the evening. Yes, Hart writes books on his research, too, and he was one of thirty recently published authors honored at the dinner.

Running a close second as a crowd-pleaser was Sam Barry, a San Francisco humorist, the brother of Pulitzer-Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry, whom he closely resembles and whose greetings he passed along. Sam Barry was recently a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco, running under the slogan, “How bad could he be?” But there’s more. Barry is also a virtuoso on the harmonica, and one short command performance led to an electrifying encore that left smiles stretching all across the room. … Continue reading »

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Library

Berkeley Library wants your feedback to improve services

South Branch Library under construction 2 of 3 1.24.13 Photo: Tracey Taylor
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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.

Through Feb. 19, Berkeley library users can fill out the brief online survey or a paper version of the survey at all library locations. (Take the online survey here.)

According to a notice sent Wednesday from Councilman Max Anderson‘s office, the library “will be seeking community input on how to improve Library services and communications.” … Continue reading »

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10 days left to escape Berkeley Library overdue fines

Patrons who need a replacement card can choose from among four designs. See all of the design options here.
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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 »

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