Tag Archives: South Branch

Lawsuit yields money for historic preservation in Berkeley

Concerned Library Users did not want Berkeley to tear down the old South Branch because they and others considered it historically significant.
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Berkeley residents may soon see the fruits of a legal settlement between the city and a group that sued over plans to tear down and rebuild two branch libraries.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that it will award $87,000 in grant money to historic places in South and West Berkeley. The money can be used for maintenance, physical improvements, and preservation of historic properties.

The Trust is encouraging “properties with a clear public benefit that are open to the public on at least a part-time basis,” to apply online by May 15 for grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. … 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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Demolition and building at Berkeley branch libraries

A truck pumping concrete to form a concrete slab for the South Branch. Photo: Berkeley Public Library
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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 »

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Rally planned to draw attention to library lawsuit

Benjamin Bartlett has helped BHS students organize against CLU lawsuit
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Dozens of church leaders, community activists, students, and library supporters plan to stage a rally outside city hall on Tuesday to call attention to a lawsuit they believe could stop construction of new libraries in the southern and western parts of Berkeley.

The group, which is calling itself New Libraries Now, plans to hoist pickets right before the City Council meeting. They want to let the members of Concerned Library Users, a small group that is suing the city … Continue reading »

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