Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library

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 »


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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Pat Mullan, recommended music gigs in Berkeley

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The Berkeley Public Library might seem like unpromising territory to develop a thriving practice as a jazz trombonist, concert presenter, and all-around East Bay mover and shaker, but Pat Mullan is an expert at creating spaces for the culture she loves. She spent a quarter century ensconced at the downtown branch, where she found numerous ways to bring jazz into the stacks. But since retiring seven years ago, Mullan has poured her energy into the hard swinging 19-piece Junius Courtney Big Band, which performs a program focusing on the music of Thelonious Monk tonight at Yoshi’s with powerhouse guest vocalist Zoe Ellis (Berkeley High class of ‘88). On Friday, Mullan brings her unusual trombone quartet Trombonga to the Westside Café on Ninth Street.

When she first started playing with the Courtney Big Band in the early 1980s the ensemble had faded from view after decades as an East Bay institution under the leadership of its namesake New Orleans-born Berkeley-based trumpeter. She quickly arranged for the band to perform at the library, and started calling around for other gigs. Her dogged efforts have kept the ensemble together, working regularly with biannual showcase concerts at Yoshi’s. … 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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Berkeley firm, project win AIA SF architecture awards

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The American Institute of Architecture San Francisco announced the winners of its annual Design Awards on Friday and two Berkeley names made the grade.

The renovation of Berkeley’s North Branch Library on The Alameda, by San Francisco firm Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch, earned a Merit Award for Historic Preservation. “This publicly funded project preserved, expanded, and updated the City of Berkeley’s beloved 1936 North Branch Library on The Alameda,” AIA SF wrote in its award list. “The $4.5 million, LEED Silver project included rehabilitation of 5,700 sq ft of historic spaces and a new 3,900 sq ft addition and was completed in 2012.”

It was the second architecture award for the North Branch Library this month. It was also one of nine Berkeley buildings recognized for representing the best recent design work in Berkeley by Berkeley Design Advocates in early April. … Continue reading »

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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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Nine Berkeley buildings win ‘design excellence’ awards

UCB - Stadium and SAHPC6
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Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)

This year threw up a particularly impressive crop of winners, according to Anthony Bruzzone, President of BDA, who said that two years ago, with the recession having put the kibosh on many construction projects, the group was concerned it might have no buildings to consider at all in 2013. … Continue reading »

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