Berkeley Public Library South and Tool Libraries Grand Reopening

March 29, 2013

Contact: Donna Corbeil
Director of Library Services


The Berkeley Public Library will celebrate the reopening of the newly constructed and expanded South Branch Library on Saturday, May 11, 2013. Located at 1901 Russell Street at MLK Jr Way, the new branch library replaces the previous facility. The new library is designed by the architectural design firm of Field Paoli Architects, San Francisco; the General Contractor is Gonsalves & Stronck Construction Company of San Carlos; and the public art installations are by Gina Dominguez (Snapshot Mosaics), well-respected Oakland mosaics artist. The grand reopening celebration will begin at 12:30 P.M.

Library services will begin immediately following the ceremonial program and the branch will remain open until 5 p.m.  A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned with local and state officials, music and refreshments will be provided. Everyone is invited. To facilitate the move back into the new space, the Tool Lending Library, temporarily located at 2525 8th Street, at Dwight Way will CLOSE at 5:30 P.M., Saturday, April 20. The library will suspend Branch Van services to South Berkeley at 1730 Oregon Street effective the end of the day, Saturday April 27, 2013.  Library Branch Van services to West Berkeley will continue while the West Branch Library is under construction. Library patrons are asked to please return checked out tools to the Tool Lending library prior to the closing date. All other Library materials may be returned to any of the other three open library locations.

The New South Branch / Tool Lending Library is a warm and welcoming building with improved lighting, ventilation, and thermal comfort. It creates a civic presence for pedestrians and passers-by; inside it offers visitors a spacious and organized layout. The Library is pleased to offer services to the community in the new branch with distinct spaces throughout the building for adults, teens, and children’s services and a true separation of quiet and louder areas. Features of the design include increased square footage, an increase in size from 5,400 SF to 8,700 SF, a flexibly planned program space which will be available throughout the day for multiple purposes and a small group study room. The new space incorporates a variety of seating, including lounge chairs, space for laptop users and increased public computer access.

The much loved, unique Tool Lending Library returns to a larger space with adequate storage for their large collection of tools and designated staff space for maintenance and repair of the collection. In keeping with Berkeley’s commitment to a green future, the new library design will reduce energy and water consumption. The design team is working to attain LEED Gold Certification, adding photovoltaics to off-set dependence on the energy grid and taking advantage of natural lighting and ventilation opportunities throughout. One such feature is a central, day-lit browsing area with popular materials, CDs and DVDs, holds, and self-check stations.

The new Library will serve the community well into the future! The branch construction was funded by Measure FF, the branch Library improvement program, a $26 million bond measure passed overwhelmingly by the voters in November 2008. Project costs for the South Branch totaled $6.5 million. A separate fundraising campaign by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation is underway to provide new furnishings, fixtures and equipment – expenses not covered by the bond. For more information on how to support the campaign, please contact Kirsten Cowan at or (510) 981-6115. For more information about the South / TLL Branch Library’s opening celebration, please call (510) 981-6195 or visit