Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library


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

BORP wheelchair basketball
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MARCH MADNESS, BORP STYLE The annual Northern California Hoops Classic wheelchair basketball tournament runs all weekend at the James Kenney Recreation Center, 1720 8th Street. Hosted by the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP), Berkeley’s own BORP All-Stars — an adult team — and BORP Bay Cruisers — a youth team and the reigning West Coast Conference champions — are among the teams competing. Games run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 23 (nine games) and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Mar. 24 (four games). Admission free.

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MASH UP AT BAM How does this sound: “The lyrics of Bob Dylan set to the music of Prince? Or the lyrics of Prince set to the music of Bob Dylan?” That’s the promise of this week’s L@te event on Friday, Mar. 22 at BAM, Positively Alphabet Street. PC Munoz’s Singing Blood does the mash up of folk and funk. Also on offer is Schumann’s First String Quartet and a video piece from Christopher Ariza. Tickets are $7 and doors open at 5 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performance.  … Continue reading »

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

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BOONA CHEEMA For decades Boona Cheema has been a fixture on the Berkeley scene, a recognized leader in the struggle to end homelessness in the city as well as state and national levels. (Read a profile in the San Francisco Chronicle.) On Saturday, Cheema will hand over the directorship of housing and services provider BOSS (Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency), where she has served for 35 years, to incoming Executive Director Donald Frazier. Frazier, formerly with Center Point in San Francisco, takes the reins on March 1. The handing over of the baton will be part of “Booma Cheema’s Goodbye Gala: From The Heart: A Legacy of Love…And New Beginnings,” with food and drinks from local restaurants, and music by Fua Dia Congo, Duniya Dance Company. Saturday Feb. 23, 2013, 6:00-9:00 pm, at Uptown Body & Fender, 401 26th Street in Oakland ($5 valet parking). Tickets $125 ($60 nonprofit, $35 low income). Visit BOSS online for details. Or by phone (510) 649-1930 x 222. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley artist Vita Wells makes books fly at main library

Berkeley Library Art Installation 6/10
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Berkeley artist Vita Wells‘s newly installed work, Flights of Mind, spans three levels of the atrium of Berkeley’s main Public Library, and it literally makes books fly.

The installation features some two hundred altered, sculpted books suspended and airborne, as if flying in a spectacular natural formation, throughout a large portion of library building. The work was created for — and much admired at — Saturday’s Berkeley Public Library Foundation Authors Dinner (which we reported on earlier today). And now it is open to the general public to view, for free, for the next two weeks, through Feb. 24. … Continue reading »

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Local stars come out for the Berkeley Public Library

BPLF Authors Dinner 2013 - Berkeley CA.
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By Mal Warwick

Who knew? Former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart isn’t just a musician. It turns out he’s also a musicologist of considerable note, and he’s collaborating with neurologists to conduct research on the potential use of rhythm to reawaken brain function in people with dementia. Hart’s brief conversation in the spotlight with Event Chair Linda Schacht Gage at Saturday’s 11th Annual Berkeley Public Library Foundation Authors Dinner was the hit of the evening. Yes, Hart writes books on his research, too, and he was one of thirty recently published authors honored at the dinner.

Running a close second as a crowd-pleaser was Sam Barry, a San Francisco humorist, the brother of Pulitzer-Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry, whom he closely resembles and whose greetings he passed along. Sam Barry was recently a candidate for Mayor of San Francisco, running under the slogan, “How bad could he be?” But there’s more. Barry is also a virtuoso on the harmonica, and one short command performance led to an electrifying encore that left smiles stretching all across the room. … Continue reading »

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Children read in the company of dogs at Berkeley Library

PAWs to Read 1/10 2/5/13
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The popular Paws to Read program started up at the Berkeley Public Library’s North Branch on Tuesday this week, and Berkeleyside photo intern Kaia Diringer dropped by to capture the event.

The program, which runs weekly through March 12, sees children in grades kindergarten through five reading aloud to a gentle dog provided by TherapyPets, a nonprofit all volunteer organization based in Oakland.

Paws to Read allows children to practice oral fluency, spend time with a friendly dog, and have fun. “The goal is to help build a child’s self-esteem and confidence, as well as foster a fondness for reading,” the library said in a statement. Other Bay Area communities have successful Paws to Read programs. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Library wants your feedback to improve services

South Branch Library under construction 2 of 3 1.24.13 Photo: Tracey Taylor
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The Berkeley Public Library has set up a 25-question survey to get the scoop from local residents about how they see and use library programs, events and facilities.

Through Feb. 19, Berkeley library users can fill out the brief online survey or a paper version of the survey at all library locations. (Take the online survey here.)

According to a notice sent Wednesday from Councilman Max Anderson‘s office, the library “will be seeking community input on how to improve Library services and communications.” … Continue reading »

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Has it gotten harder to be homeless in Berkeley?

Measure S would prohibit sitting on the sidewalk, during certain hours, in Berkeley’s commercial districts. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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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 »

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City will replace 70-foot destroyed redwood with oak tree

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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 »

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Nearly $30k in fines waived in library fee amnesty

The Berkeley Public Library at 2090 Kittredge St. Photo: Anne Holmes
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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 »

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

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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 »

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