Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library

Library to reconsider proposal to rename South Branch

The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opened in May 2013. Photo: Richard Friedman
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The Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) will hold a special session Thursday May 7 at 6:30 p.m. to make a final decision on a community proposal to rename the South Branch library after a local activist.

At its April 22 meeting, BOLT considered the petition to rename the branch at 1901 Russell Street after the late Tarea Hall Pittman, a black civil-rights leader and radio host who lived nearby. The five members heard impassioned speeches from community members and ultimately voted 3-2 against a motion to suspend the library naming policy, which would have allowed them to vote on the proposal.

Two of the trustees who voted against the motion, Julie Holcomb and Jim Novosel, were up for reappointment at the April 28 council meeting.

At that meeting, Councilman Laurie Capitelli pushed the item to the June meeting to allow for further discussions about the name change.

“I realize that there are a lot of people here tonight to support Ms. Pittman and I think probably a lot of frustration in the audience coming from last Wednesday’s meeting,” he said. “I think people of goodwill are reaching out to one another. I think we’re going to find a path forward.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Berkeley Library should apply larger view in naming its buildings

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On Wednesday April 22 at 6:30 p.m., the Board of Library Trustees will meet at the South Branch Library at 1901 Russell St. to review its naming policy and to hear requests to rename the South Branch to honor Tarea Hall Pittman.

The Berkeley Public Library’s Naming Policy strongly favors naming branch libraries only for their geographical location — north, south etc. The Policy sets stringent requirements for naming any of the libraries after any person except “the … Continue reading »

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

Linda and the Cultural Heritage Tour
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SPIRITUALS AS SACRED MUSIC The Second Annual Black History Month Celebration on Sat. Feb. 28 will be a lively affair, with a program emphasizing the history of African-American spirituals as sacred music. The program at the Florence Schwimley Little Theater, 1936 Allston Way, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., will feature musical performances by some of the region’s most accomplished performers. Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Tour, a “Grammy-nominated, percussion-driven, vocal ensemble whose mission is to preserve and share the rich musical traditions of African-American roots music,” is the headliner. Othello Jefferson, Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, Berkeley High African American Dance Troupe, Sister’s Keeper, and James Daley will also be there. There will be a “Black Invention” display featuring 20 artifacts. There will be booths with food. … Continue reading »

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Neighbors petition to rename Berkeley’s South Branch Library after civil-rights leader

The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library opened in May 2013. Photo: Richard Friedman
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Update, April 23, 2015: The Board of Trustees of the Berkeley Public Library voted against renaming the South Branch after civil-rights leader Tarea Hall Pittman at its April 22 meeting. (See who is on the Board and listen to a recording of the meeting on the Library’s website.) The leader of the campaign in favor of the idea, Charles Austin, told Berkeleyside reporter Natalie Orenstein he was devastated, and that supporters would protest the decision at the next Berkeley City Council meeting. “Racism is alive in Berkeley,” he said.The South Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was remodeled two years ago, and soon it might be rechristened too.

Original story: On Feb. 10, the city council passed a proposal to rename the library, at 1901 Russell St., after Tarea Hall Pittman, a civil-rights leader who lived in South Berkeley and died in 1991. The Board of Library Trustees (BOLT) will have the final say on whether the change will be made.

Pittman “was just a pillar in the community,” said councilwoman Linda Maio, who sponsored the item. A community petition in support of the name change garnered over 2,000 signatures. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s West Branch first ‘net zero’ library in the state

West Branch Library. Photo Richard Friedman
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The West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, which opened in Decemeber 2013, produced more energy that it used in 2014, and it has been officially anointed as the first “net zero” library in the state and only the third municipal building of its kind in the nation.

“Libraries embody a community’s values,” Jeff Scott, the Director of Library Services, said in a press release announcing the energy savings. “It’s fitting that the Berkeley Public Library’s West Berkeley branch brings together City values of education and sustainability. This is an amazing accomplishment by Berkeley voters, library patrons, a dedicated group of Berkeley Public Library staff and our local design firms and contractors.”

The announcement comes shortly after the release of the library’s annual report, which was full of interesting user statistics, and the library’s major annual fundraising event, the Author’s Dinner, put on by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation (see a photo gallery of the evening below). … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Berkeley Public Library is central to our community

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The library is a critical component of our Berkeley community. As an organization, we must learn to listen and understand the trends that impact our patrons. The first step is an understanding of what those needs are. As part of our strategic planning process, I am following up with stakeholders and those who attended our Town Hall meetings. I am sending them the letter below that I am now turning into an open letter. I would invite all Berkeley residents … Continue reading »

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

Participants in the free parkour workshop on Saturday will learn the basic moves of the sport. Photo courtesy of SF Parkour on Facebook
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BEGINNER’S PARKOUR CLASS Most Berkeleyside readers know the ins and outs of our city. So why not take a weekend to explore familiar terrain from a new vantage point: upside-down, in the air, or rolling over it. SFParkour hosts monthly introductory classes, which occasionally — such as this Saturday, Jan. 10 — take place at UC Berkeley. Parkour is a sport that involves moving quickly and creatively through obstacles in an urban environment. Participants in the class will learn the philosophy of parkour, safety tips, and the basic moves. Everyone is welcome, but attendees under 16 need parental permission. Wear comfortable clothes and running shoes, and meet at Mulford Hall (north of University Drive) at 12 p.m. … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: The Berkeley Public Library — Shelter from the storm

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We’ve experienced quite the storm in Berkeley over this past week, both metaphorically and literally. Often, the media will focus on the negative aspects of a story such as the Berkeley protests, choosing to focus on that which turned violent, or the snarled traffic, and in the case of the recent weather storm, the flooded streets. I wanted to share with you some positive stories from these events, and the role your library has played in them.

Most city facilities … Continue reading »

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

Date night
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DATE NIGHT — WITH THE KIDS! On Saturday, Sept. 6, parents can bring their kids on a date night. Yes, you read that right. The fun evening of entertainment and cocktails being held at the Kala Art Institute will benefit CEID, an innovative local school for deaf and hard-of-hearing children. Parents get the cocktail date night where Lisa Rothman, a former producer and host for KPFA and KALW, will perform the one-woman show “Date Night at Pet Emergency,” while the kids attend the preschool’s pajama pizza party, learning sign language and meeting a service dog. Rothman says she’s doing the show as her way of saying thank you to the school which helped her son (who was born with a neurological disorder called apraxia) speak. Kala Art Institute, 2990 San Pablo Ave., 5:30-8:30 p.m. Show and cocktail reception, $60, pizza party for kids, $25. Advanced registration for childcare required. Tickets can be bought on Eventbrite. … Continue reading »

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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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