North Branch Library Reopening April 7, 2012

February 28, 2012

Contact: Donna Corbeil
Library Director

The Berkeley Public Library will celebrate the reopening of the newly renovated and expanded North Branch Library on Saturday, April 7.  Located at 1170 The Alameda at Hopkins, the North Branch is a much loved and well-used community landmark. The 75-year-old library, designed by James Plachek underwent a sensitive renovation and 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. 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
  • Extensive addition to the rear of the branch, creating space for new restrooms, an elevator, new teen space and community meeting room
  • 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, a new front courtyard and a side entrance plaza off the new addition will enhance the branch’s place in the neighborhood
  • Historic features were carefully preserved, such as the beautiful stenciled and wood-beamed ceiling and wood-framed windows; and the historic reading room tables were refurbished
  • Civic art component created by local artist Marion Coleman of two unique art panels for the new public space

The renovation was undertaken by the architectural design team of Architectural Resources Group and Tom Eliot Fisch. “The lead designer Cathleen Malmstrom has extensive experience preserving historic buildings while bringing them up to current standards” said Library Director Donna Corbeil, “the branch has been beautifully restored and is now seismically safe, functional and a model of environmental sustainability, so that it can serve the community into the 21st century.”  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 North Branch totaled $5.9 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 North Branch Library’s opening celebration, please call (510) 981-6195 or visit