Claremont Branch Library Reopening May 5, 2012

March 30, 2012

Contact: Donna Corbeil
Library Director

The Berkeley Public Library will celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated and expanded Claremont Branch Library on Saturday, May 5. Located at 2940 Benvenue Avenue at Ashby Avenue, the Claremont Branch is in the heart of the Elmwood neighborhood. The much loved and well-used community landmark, designed by James Plachek in 1924 and expanded in 1975, has undergone a sensitive renovation and small expansion to improve infrastructure, ADA accessibility and safety features. The grand reopening celebration will begin at 1:00 p.m. Library services will begin at 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  A ribbon cutting ceremony is planned with local and state officials, music and refreshments will be provided. Everyone is invited. Features include:

  • Designed and built to meet silver certification standards under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system
  • Small addition to create space for new restrooms, staff workspace and reading nook
  • New landscaping designed to meet Bay Friendly Landscaping certification standards, administered by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority,
  • Redesigned exterior spaces, including a new ramp for ADA access, new seating and signage to enhance the branch’s place in the neighborhood
  • Public space layout improvements, more comfortable seating, natural light and improved reading light; and separate teen room
  • Historic features were carefully preserved, such as the exterior brick work, beautiful wood book cases and wood-framed windows
  • Entry and open lobby with an improved layout; and tall dormer windows for more natural light and visibility from the street
  • Civic art component created by local artist Eric Powell of a unique exterior metal railing for the new public space

The renovation was undertaken by the architectural design team of Gould Evans / Baum Thornley of San Francisco. The branch has been beautifully restored and is now seismically safe, functional and a model of environmental sustainability.  The branch renovation 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 Claremont Branch totaled $4.4 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 Claremont Branch Library’s opening celebration, please call (510) 981-6195 or visit