Tag Archives: Donna Corbeil

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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Berkeley Authors’ Dinner honors writers and library staff

Tables await patrons. Photo: Richard Friedman
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Berkeley, a literary city if there ever was one, celebrated local authors, readers and the renovation of its branch libraries Saturday night at the 12th annual Authors’ Dinner.

The Central Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was transformed for the evening into an elegant dining room, complete with fancy stemware, plates, and glasses, and table centerpieces that incorporated books and the printed page.

The staff of the Berkeley Public Library, which just came out of a four-year renovation campaign of the four branch libraries, was awarded the Fred and Pat Cody award, which honors individuals and institutions that embody the spirit of the long-time Berkeley couple who founded Cody’s books. In the last ten years the award has gone to individuals , organizations and bookstores that have enhanced Berkeley’s literary environment. … 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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News

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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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 library stays relevant with shift to digital

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2012 was a year of big changes for the Berkeley Public Library. Two of its branches, Claremont and North, reopened after extensive remodeling. Two other branches, South and West, closed for their own redos.

As Donna Corbeil, the library’s director, put it in the library’s annual report, “library spaces have moved far beyond the traditional hushed reading room.” Instead of just offering books at brick and mortar locations, the library is providing services to “Berkeley’s continuum of learning and inspiration,” according to Corbeil.

This means lending books, magazines, music, and films the way people want them, whether from traditional paper book format to downloadable eBooks and music, to online digital formats. … Continue reading »

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City will replace 70-foot destroyed redwood with oak tree

Oak
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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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Contractor mistake damages lone redwood tree at library

The redwood tree at the West Branch of the Berkeley Library that will have to be taken down. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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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 »

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Renovated Claremont library branch opens Saturday

The exterior of the refurbished Claremont Library. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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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 »

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Gleaming new North Branch Library to open Saturday

The exterior of the renovated North Branch Library has new signs and seating. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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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 »

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Claremont branch library reopening delayed two months

Claremont library construction
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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 »

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