Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library
After the failure of Measure S to pass in November, we heard from one reader who said there seemed to have been harsher enforcement around town of violations related to homelessness. The reader said a homeless friend had been hassled by police when trying to sleep in a regular spot, and also wanted to know about new rules at the library that limit the size and type of items that can be brought inside.
The reader sent us an email in December detailing the changes, and asked Berkeleyside to learn more.
“Since the no-sit measure failed, the city has begun new, more aggressive treatment of the homeless. My homeless neighbor … has been told he could sleep in the doorway of a movie theater but last night, a cop rousted him from his dry, out-of-the-rain perch in the theater’s doorway. The cop said the theater could face stiff fines for giving [my neighbor] permission to sleep in their doorway on a rainy night.” … Continue reading »
Two months after a contractor irreparably damaged the root system of a towering redwood tree that was slated to be the centerpiece of the garden at the West Branch library, the trustees of the Berkeley Public Library Board are on the verge of selecting another species to take its place.
The BOLT Board is expected on Wednesday night to select a Cork Oak tree to be the “signature” tree in the garden of the West Branch Library at 1125 University Avenue, currently being rebuilt. The Cork Oak , a native of Portugal, can grow about 40 feet high and 40 feet wide, according to John N. Roberts, a landscape architect working with Harley Ellis Devereaux, the architects on the branch reconstruction project. … Continue reading »
A recent effort by the Berkeley Public Library to encourage patrons to return, and get back misplaced items, was, according to library staff, a success.
“We’re really pleased with how the Fines Amnesty went. More users came back to the Library, we recovered lost materials, and I think it generated a lot of goodwill right before the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Douglas Smith, deputy library director, via email.
The amnesty program took place for about two weeks in November; patrons had to go into the library or otherwise speak with staff to get overdue fees waived. (Patrons were still held responsible for fees for missing items, damaged materials and the like.)
The library waived $28,139 in fines, and collected about $4,300 in fees not subject to the amnesty, such as replacement charges for lost or damaged books. … Continue reading »
NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT It seems appropriate that during after such a contested and divisive election The Actor’s Ensemble of Berkeley is performing Richard III, the classic Shakespeare tale of ”the lust for power gone berserk.” The king won’t let anyone stand in the way of his desire for the crown of England. Richard III, directed by Sharon Huff Robinson, is the Actor’s Ensemble’s final production for its 55th season. It runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Nov 17 at Live Oak Theater.
BOOKS OF ALL STRIPES, GALORE Every book lover in town knows that the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library’s annual book sale is a great place to pick up tomes at a discount. All books, CDs, DVDs, and records are only 50 cents apiece. This year the Friends have added new categories such as sexuality, humor, and vintage. The sale takes place on Saturday Nov. 10 on the third floor of the Central Library at 2090 Kittredge Street and runs from 10 to 4 pm. Lines can be long, so arrive early. … Continue reading »
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 »
A towering redwood tree that was to be the focal point of the garden at the new West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was so damaged by the contractor that it will have to be taken down, library officials announced Tuesday.
The contract with West Bay Builders required the company to take precautions to preserve the root structure of the redwood, but those measures were not followed, according to a letter Donna Corbeil, director of library services, sent out to neighbors. The contractor damaged the roots while excavating around the tree.
Dan Gallagher, the city’s forestry engineer, recently examined the tree’s roots and determined that they were so damaged that the tree is unstable and unhealthy. … Continue reading »
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 »
A solo exhibition of the work of Berkeley-based photographer Michael Layefsky recently opened at the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library.
Layefsky, who was profiled by Berkeleyside in January, captures his stunning images from the sky with the help of kites, helium balloons, and long poles.
Whether it’s the roof of Berkeley’s Forge and Tool complex, or the striking architecture of the Berkeley Art Museum as seen from above, the rice terraces of Bali or San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, Layefsky’s images are never less than enthralling.
Some stories do have happy endings. Readers may remember in April when something of a brouhaha erupted over the “yarnbombing” of a bicycle rack outside Berkeley’s North Branch Library.
Local yarnbomber Streetcolor had decorated the circular racks before the grand reopening of the library, but the knitting was removed by librarians concerned over the distraction it might cause when they wanted all attention to be focused on the beautifully remodeled building.
Donna Corbeil, Director of Library Services, said at the time that it was important for the community to experience “the completed project fully, without anything covered up or altered since it was the grand reopening.”
She also added, however, that the library would be glad to talk to the anonymous street artist about putting the yarn back up at a future date. … 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 »
One creative contribution to the newly reopened North Branch Library was not seen by the crowds of supporters who turned up on Saturday to celebrate the library’s return to service. Local “yarnbomber” Streetcolor had made some custom knitted coverings for the new circular bike racks outside the library — but they barely saw the light of day as they were quickly removed by librarians displeased with the rogue artistic action.
Streetcolor, who likes to remain anonymous and has created many stealth knitting installations around the Bay Area and beyond, said she spent a couple of months spinning and knitting the covers for the curvy bike racks. She put them up on Friday night. “Lots of locals stopped to take pictures and thank us,” she said. But, on the morning of the reopening on Saturday, when she drove by to take pictures, the yarn had been taken down, she said.
Yarnbombing, like any unauthorized street art in public spaces, is illegal, but the Berkeley community has generally welcomed installations in the city in the past — at least as expressed in the many hundreds of comments our stories on the subject have garnered. Not everyone loves it, however, and some have expressed concern about how the yarn fares long term, exposed as it is to the elements. Most installations are taken down after a few weeks. … 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 »