Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley Public Library’s Branch Out draws thousands

Soji and the AfroBeat band Berkeley Library Branch out
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This April, the Berkeley Public Library marked the completion of its Branch Library Improvement Program with a month-long celebration. The event, called Branch Out, consisted of over 170 programs and helped draw thousands of visitors to the Library.

True to its name, Branch Out featured a wide range of free workshops and activities for all Berkeley residents. The Central Library and its four branches put on author talks, book clubs, arts and crafts sessions, daily geocaching sessions and a multitude of other programs designed to stimulate the mind, body and soul.

Scattered throughout the month were larger gatherings that attracted hundreds of people each. These included after-hours concerts, a family-friendly First Friday festival showcasing local artwork and a barn dance. All were catered by local eateries. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Library Director Donna Corbeil to retire

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Donna Corbeil, who oversaw the renovation and reconstruction of Berkeley’s four branch libraries, will be stepping down from her post as executive director of the library system in September.

Corbeil has headed the Berkeley Public Library for seven years. In that time, she oversaw the completion of a master plan for the branch libraries, which led to the placement of Measure FF, a $28 million bond,  on the November 2008 ballot. Corbeil then managed the renovation of the North and Claremont branches and construction of two new buildings for the West and South branches, giving Berkeley one of the most modern, energy-efficient, handicapped-accessible and light-filled branch systems in the state. The project was brought in on budget. … Continue reading »

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Food, culture, campus: Downtown Berkeley’s best?

2012 Sunday Streets. Photo: Alan Tobey
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Downtown Berkeley has seen a major revival in recent years, with a profusion of new restaurants and extensive development planned. Not everyone is happy with the changes, and the future of downtown continues to be a controversial topic.

On a lark, Berkeleyside asked readers to share some of their favorite downtown spots on Facebook. And, given the penchant in this town to offer criticism or complaints as a means toward progress, it was a bit of a shock to see the immediate outpouring of excitement about places locals love downtown.

Within a few hours, we had nearly 50 comments. Ideas — totaling about 80 recommendations — continued to come in for days. By no means is this intended to be scientific or exhaustive, but our question certainly hit a nerve.

We’ve included all the suggestions, along with some highlights provided by readers, in the map below. Click the markers to learn more. … Continue reading »

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

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 A ROCK OPERA THRILLER This weekend, First Look Sonoma and ROCKIT Opera is presenting three performances of the world premiere of composer/librettist (and Berkeley local) Sheli Nan’s SAGA of the 21st Century Girl: A Rock Opera Thriller. The new opera stars Crystal Philippi as a disturbed young girl struggling to cope with her self-absorbed mother (Valentina Osinski) and gutless father (Jo Vincent Parks) and their dysfunctional home. Portraying various aspects of the predatory impulse are the Shadows, both hilarious and genuinely frightening, portrayed by Alexis Lane Jensen and John Duykers. The company says the show, with its “completely original narrative with haunting musical themes is dynamic, captivating, and humorous at times.” SAGA is recommended for mature audiences. SAGA opens tonight and there are performances Saturday and Sunday. The show is at the Osher Studio, 2055 Center St. in downtown Berkeley. Visit First Look Sonoma online for details. … Continue reading »

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Bites: 44 Restaurant, Sodoi Coffee, Township, Clove & Hoof

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Openings…

44 RESTAURANT & BAR  Mark Jones and Ramone Smith have just opened 44 Restaurant & Bar at 3290 Adeline St. in the space that used to be Addie’s Pizza Pie, and was, for a short while, Next Door Restaurant. Jones and Smith moved from a smaller location in Hercules to the 4,000-square-foot Berkeley space. Kenneth Wynn is the executive chef, and the menu is described as “new American.” Next Door, which was opened by Henry Alvarez, the former head of San Francisco’s Housing Authority, and his wife Dionne Roberts, closed a couple of weeks ago and posted a sign saying it was “redecorating/creating a new concept.” Of 44, Berkeleysider Marcus tells us: “The food has always been good at the old location: give them a shot.” 44 is open from 4 p.m. for dinner Wednesdays through Sunday. … 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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Photo gallery: Berkeley’s brand new West Branch library

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On Saturday, Berkeley welcomed a new West Branch library at 1125 University Ave. (at San Pablo). Read all about it in our story published last week. And enjoy these superlative photographs by Richard Friedman, taken on opening day.

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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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Berkeley Public Library branch hours to be extended

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The hours of Berkeley’s branch libraries will be extended later this fall, now that construction on all four is almost complete.

Starting Dec. 2, the North, Claremont, and South branches will be open four hours longer each week, according to library officials. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Friday and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday. Currently, the branch libraries are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and from noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday. … Continue reading »

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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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Anthology reflects Berkeley’s many communities

Frances Leskowitz. Photo by Gordon Masor
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A Muslim woman born in India was making preparations for her daughter’s wedding reception when the World Trade Center destruction happened. … A Filipina daughter in a military family encounters racism living in New Orleans and San Pedro and even at Galileo High School in San Francisco. … A student near Kent State University becomes radicalized when the National Guard shoots protesting students. A Jewish man from Brooklyn titles his short story “Fighting Back.” A young writer begins her story, “I spent the first eighteen years of my life in Cleveland Ohio, and I have spent the last ten years running away from it.”

These are some of the stories included in a new anthology created by students enrolled in a recent memoir-writing workshop held at the Berkeley Public Library. Featuring people from all different backgrounds, the stories create “a kind of portrait of the community, a part of the history of the U.S. that you don’t read about in the paper or the history books,” said Frances Lefkowitz, the author and essayist who led the class titled “The History of the Rest of Us.”

Lefkowitz and her students will read selections from the anthology, “We Are Here,” on Tuesday, July 16, from 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on Kittredge Street. … Continue reading »

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

Photo: Nyingma Institute.
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‘SUPER CINEMA’ AT THE BERKELEY PUBLIC LIBRARY  The Berkeley Public Library’s free film series “Super Cinema” continues, starting July 5. Each month on Friday afternoons at 3 p.m., the library explores a different theme. This Friday’s theme is ‘Resisting Injustice’, in honor of the recent Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality. Kick back and watch “Stonewall Uprising”, a great movie that tells the whole story of the June 1969 riots in New York City that sparked the gay rights movement. Central Library in the 3rd floor Community Meeting Room. 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck). More details at Berkeley Public Library online. … Continue reading »

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