Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library
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 »
The Berkeley Public Central Library is closed today, Sunday, after a small fire in a restroom on Saturday caused sprinklers to flood a public area of the building.
The book returns are open, however, and Donna Corbeil, Director of Library Services, says the library plans to reopen at its regular time on Monday.
Today crews are cleaning up the water damage which was prompted by a fire alarm setting off automatic sprinklers.
The fire ignited in a public restroom on the second floor. It is not known how it got started. Nobody was injured and the public and staff were evacuated. … Continue reading »
The renovated North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library will reopen on April 7, and the remodeled Claremont Branch will open shortly thereafter, on May 5, library officials announced Saturday night.
The re-opening of the two branches comes less than a year after they were shut for remodeling. It means that construction on Berkeley’s other two branches can start soon.
As a first step towards tearing down and rebuilding the South Branch, the Tool Lending Library at 1901 Russell Street will relocate. The Tool Lending Library will close Friday, February 17 and reopen March 20 in the Sawtooth Building at 2547 8th Street. Patrons are asked to return all tools by Friday this week. The South Branch will close on March 17 and the West Branch is scheduled to close at the end of April, according to Donna Corbeil, the library’s executive director. … Continue reading »
While the reopening of the north branch of the Berkeley Public Library is still three to four months away, its new contours are apparent. Construction crews have completed the building and painting of two-story addition to the building, which will house a new multipurpose room, a teen reading area, and a staff room. … Continue reading »
The reopening of the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library has been pushed back two months because of construction delays.
The Claremont branch will now reopen in late March or April next year, rather than late January or early February, according to Donna Corbeil, the library director.
“It looks like it is four to eight weeks behind our originally anticipated schedule,” said Corbeil.
The delay is a result of some vendors not delivering items on time, Corbeil said. For example, the new windows are taking longer to arrive than expected.
So far, there are no cost overruns for either the Claremont or North branch projects. The North branch remodel is expected to be completed in March or April 2012 as well. … Continue reading »
On the day we remember a catastrophic fire that affected many people’s lives locally, it may also pay to recall another fire which happened 68 years before the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm and which was far more destructive to Berkeley.
The 1991 fire razed 63 Berkeley homes out of a total of more than 3,300. On September 17, 1923, however, a raging fire consumed some 640 structures, including 584 homes in the densely built neighborhoods north of the campus. Although the exact cause was never determined, the fire began in the undeveloped chaparral and grasslands of Wildcat Canyon, and was pushed towards the south west by a strong, gusty, and intensely dry northeasterly wind.
The Berkeley Fire Department, aided by a number of UC Berkeley students, was unable to stop the fire as it approached the north edge of the campus at Hearst Avenue. … Continue reading »