Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library Branch Improvement Program
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 »
Workers were busy putting the finishing touches on the renovated North Branch Library last week in anticipation of its grand reopening on Saturday, April 7 at 1:00 pm.
The library has been closed for nearly a year and, when it reopens, patrons will see many recognizable features, but some new ones too.
“We’re really excited,” said Donna Corbeil, the library’s director.
The main circulation desk has been repositioned. New leather chairs form inviting spaces to read. There is an expanded computer room, and the library also has seven laptop computers for people to use. … Continue reading »
The renovated North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will reopen on April 7, and the remodeled Claremont Branch will open shortly thereafter, on May 5, library officials announced Saturday night.
The re-opening of the two branches comes less than a year after they were shut for remodeling. It means that construction on Berkeley’s other two branches can start soon.
As a first step towards tearing down and rebuilding the South Branch, the Tool Lending Library at 1901 Russell Street will relocate. The Tool Lending Library will close Friday, February 17 and reopen March 20 in the Sawtooth Building at 2547 8th Street. Patrons are asked to return all tools by Friday this week. The South Branch will close on March 17 and the West Branch is scheduled to close at the end of April, according to Donna Corbeil, the library’s executive director. … Continue reading »
The reopening of the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library has been pushed back two months because of construction delays.
The Claremont branch will now reopen in late March or April next year, rather than late January or early February, according to Donna Corbeil, the library director.
“It looks like it is four to eight weeks behind our originally anticipated schedule,” said Corbeil.
The delay is a result of some vendors not delivering items on time, Corbeil said. For example, the new windows are taking longer to arrive than expected.
So far, there are no cost overruns for either the Claremont or North branch projects. The North branch remodel is expected to be completed in March or April 2012 as well. … Continue reading »
The city of Berkeley has reached an agreement with Concerned Library Users over a lawsuit the group filed to stop the demolition and rebuilding of the South and West branches of the Berkeley Public Library.
In a closed session on Tuesday evening, the city council voted to settle the lawsuit by creating a $100,000 fund to provide grants to preserve historic buildings in the city’s south and west neighborhoods, according to Zach Cowan, the City attorney. The city also agreed … Continue reading »
The Berkeley Public Library has been writing a blog to keep patrons updated on the renovations to the North and Claremont branches of the library. These are photos from that site. The two branches were closed in April 2011. Claremont branch renovations should be done by end of year, according to library director Donna Corbeil, and the North branch will be completed by spring 2012. The library is also posting weekly updates on the construction on its website.
Claremont … Continue reading »
The architect who worked with Concerned Library Users, the group suing Berkeley to stop the demolition and rebuilding of the south and west branch libraries, has sent an apology for his actions to the City Council and city manager.
In a letter dated June 17, 2011, Todd Jersey apologizes for “causing more harm than good,” by presenting two designs that he said would “save the original buildings.” Jersey said his work was a misguided effort to resolve the dispute between the city, which wants to tear down the two branches and build entirely new structures, and CLU, which contends bond monies raised to renovate the city’s branch libraries cannot be used for demolition.
“This clearly backfired in many ways that in retrospect I should have known,” Jersey wrote in his letter. “Therefore I am also writing to apologize for the stress and hardship that my participation in the project caused you as City officials. Looking back on this now I can see that I naively thought that my participation could help settle the suit and alter the course of the projects in a good way. Obviously I failed to understand the amount of community investment in the work done by the other firms and furthermore, that in a lawsuit, there really is no opportunity for discourse. Instead of helping, my efforts created hardship for the City and for the Library Staff and The Friends of the Library. For that I am personally sorry. Clearly I have no intention of doing anything like this again.” (emphasis is Jersey’s)
Jersey wrote that he was never a signatory to the efforts of CLU to sue the city. In fact, he said, he does not support suing his own municipality.
The letter will not have any legal bearing on the CLU lawsuit against Berkeley, which will be heard before a judge on September 9th, according to Berkeley City Attorney Zach Cowan.
But Councilman Darryl Moore, who sits on the board of the public library, hopes Jersey’s letter prods CLU to reconsider its actions.
“The lawsuit is causing nothing but difficulty and pain throughout the community,” said Moore. “I hope those who filed it will read it, take it to heart, and consider dropping the lawsuit.” … Continue reading »
Dozens of church leaders, community activists, students, and library supporters plan to stage a rally outside city hall on Tuesday to call attention to a lawsuit they believe could stop construction of new libraries in the southern and western parts of Berkeley.
The group, which is calling itself New Libraries Now, plans to hoist pickets right before the City Council meeting. They want to let the members of Concerned Library Users, a small group that is suing the city … Continue reading »
The Claremont Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will close at 6 pm Saturday April 2 for nine to twelve months.
During that time the entire building will be renovated and seismically strengthened. When the branch reopens, it will have 350 more square feet of space, a new reference desk, a more open and inviting lobby, a separate, sound-proofed teen room, a new picture-book alcove for children, more chairs for reading books and new windows … Continue reading »
The bids to renovate the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library came in so high that library officials are asking the City Council to reject them all.
The architects hired by the library thought it would cost about $3.8 million to renovate the historic building on The Alameda and add a two-story, 3,850 square foot addition facing Josephine Street, but the lowest bid came back more than $1 million over that estimate.
Library officials think that with a little tweaking of the design, the city can redo the building within its projected budget.
“We are disappointed but we are optimistic that we can bring the cost down,” said Donna Corbeil, the library director. “It’s important we stay within our budget.” … Continue reading »
Berkeley is preparing to close the Claremont and North branch libraries for a year in order to remodel them and improve their seismic safety and disabled access. So what are library junkies expected to do?
Take a look at the new mobile branch library, known in another era as a bookmobile. Now it’s called a BranchVan. It’s idle now, but starting in the spring it will be shifting back and forth to the neighborhoods around … Continue reading »