Central Library Space Improvement Project Update - June 2016

A dedicated, flexible, and larger space for teens on the Central Library’s first floor.
A refining of the second floor Reference Room that draws in programs and patrons.

These are two of the highlights of the Berkeley Central Library Improvement Project due to begin construction in February, 2017.

Emerging out of ideas from the community and Library staff, a range of desired improvements for Central was identified in 2014.  Berkeley-based Noll & Tam Architects guided the Library through an evaluation that resulted in the Library Board of Trustees selecting a vibrant and welcoming Teen space and re-imagined Reference area, and related enhancements on the first and second floor as top priorities in the near term.

Proposed improvements were further developed through discussions with staff and public, and, most notably, a group of Teens who helped steer the design and function of the new Teen Room.  The second floor Reference Room was re-imagined as a flexible space that can accommodate either quiet study or public programs and events.

The results aim to meet the Berkeley Public Library’s ongoing goal of providing a welcoming, safe, and comfortable environment, as well as supporting the strategic direction of building community by fostering collaboration and conversations. In addition to the new Teen Room and reconfigured Reference Room, other improvements include:

  • A public service desk near the front door to welcome and guide patrons
  • Improved browsing of the library’s most popular materials on the first floor
  • A well-lit and redesigned Reference Desk on the second floor
  • A co-working space on the second floor for patrons to work collaboratively with library staff on more in-depth information seeking projects
  • A more open, flexible concept in the Reference Room
  • Display area for art and cultural pieces

The Central project is made possible through the generous contributions to and by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation that will augment Library budget allocations.  It comes on the heels of the full renovation of Berkeley Public Library’s four neighborhood branches, completed in 2014.

For a complete review of the project’s history and content, visit Central Library Space Improvements.