West Branch Library Grand Opening December 14, 2013

November 07, 2013

Contact: Donna Corbeil
Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library


Berkeley, November 6, 2013The Berkeley Public Library will celebrate the reopening of the newly constructed and expanded West Branch Library on Saturday, December 14, 2013. Located at 1125 University Avenue at San Pablo, the new branch library replaces the previous facility. The completion of the West Branch is the fourth and final project in a multi-year program to improve the branch libraries. The new library is designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux Architects, Oakland; the General Contractor is West Bay Builders, Novato; construction management by Kitchell CEM; and the public art installations are by local artists WOWHAUS: Scott Constable and Ene Osteraas-Constable.

The grand reopening celebration will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., followed immediately by the start of library services. Opening day celebrations continue throughout the day, until the library closes at 5 p.m. Look for more details on planned events on the library website at: http://berkeleypubliclibrary.org. Everyone is invited.

The new 9,300 square foot West Branch will embody the latest in building sustainability and green building techniques. A project goal is to attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.  The most significant aspect for this new public building is the primary design objective to achieve Zero Net Energy (ZNE) performance.  The project benefited from early collaboration between the City’s Office of Energy and Sustainable Development, the design team and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), including a substantial grant during the design phase as part of PG&E’s Savings by Design statewide program. In keeping with Berkeley’s commitment to a green future, the new library design will reduce energy and water consumption, add photovoltaics to off-set dependence on the energy grid and take advantage of natural lighting and ventilation opportunities throughout.

The new branch has adequate space to accommodate all library and adult literacy programs. Features include a quiet study room, teen room, increased computer access, improved access to collections and comfortable seating for adults and children to create an oasis for learning and reading as envisioned by the community during the planning process.

Other features of the building include:

  • Plentiful natural light provided by large windows and skylights
  • Environmentally friendly design including engineered fresh-air ventilation for airflow and heating, under floor radiant heating and over window heating elements and use of recycled and renewable construction materials
  • Public space layout improvements, more comfortable seating, cozy picture book nook and separate teen room
  • Community multipurpose room with state-of-the-art presentation technology and after-hours access

Berkeley READS, the adult literacy program of the Berkeley Public Library, will return to West Branch with the opening of the facility. The much improved Berkeley READS suite includes tutoring spaces and a dedicated computer classroom.

The new branch is seismically safe, functional and a model of environmental sustainability. It is designed to serve the community well into the future.  The branch construction was funded by Measure FF, a $26 million bond measure passed overwhelmingly by the voters in November 2008. Project costs for the West Branch totaled $7.5 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 kcowan@bplf.org or (510) 981-6115. For more information about the West Branch Library’s opening celebration, please call (510) 981-6195 or visit www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.

West Branch Reopening Postcard