North Branch

Sketch of Original North Branch Building

Building Notes:

Constructed in the California Spanish style, North Branch Library was designed by renowned Berkeley architect James Placheck. The structure, which opened in September 1936, replaced the old branch library in the Penninman mansion at Live Oak Park. Architect Plachek also designed the Claremont Branch and the Central Library.

North Branch was constructed for a total cost of about $45,000. Of this, $29,000 came from city funds and the remaining $16,000 from the Public Works administration. An additional $2,865.54 was used to furnish the building.

North Branch History

For more history of this branch, see the "Berkeley--Public Library--North Branch" clipping file located in the Berkeley History Room.

Past Locations

1910-1915: North Branch opened in 1910 and existed for 5 years above a drug store located at Shattuck Avenue and Vine Street.

1916-1936: North was relocated to the lower level of the Penniman House located at 1301 Shattuck Avenue in the Live Oak Park area.

1936-2011: Berkeley once again turned to local architect James Plachek to design a new North Branch located at The Alameda and Hopkins Street.  This building, plans for which had to be scaled back to save money, cost $45,000, including $16,000 of matching funds from the WPA (Works Progress Administration).

2011-Present: With the passage of Measure FF, North Branch was sensitively restored and modernized.  The addition included the middle wing jutting off the main lobby as first envisioned by the original architect, James Plachek, plus a community meeting room, a significantly expanded teen space, and an expanded staff work space.