The North Branch served the community well for 75 years, and library officials say now that a renovation has added new rooms, landscaping, outdoor features, original art and sensitive preservation of historical details, it will continue to serve them for at least that long.
On Saturday, April 7, the expanded library at 1170 The Alameda throws open its doors to the community for a 1 p.m. celebration with music and refreshments.
“The lead designer Cathleen Malmstrom has extensive experience preserving historic buildings while bringing them up to current standards,” said library director Donna Corbeil in a statement. “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.”
Skilled tradesmen painstakingly preserved historic features such as stenciled and wood-beamed ceiling, wood-framed windows; and the classic reading room tables, Corbeil said.
Expanded to include community and teen rooms and an elevator, the building meets silver certification standards under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The exterior has gained water conservation-friendly landscaping, a wheelchair-accessible ramp, a front courtyard and a side entrance plaza.
Measure FF, the branch library improvement program, paid for the overhaul with $26 million in bond funds approved by voters in 2008.
A separate fund raising campaign by the Berkeley Public Library Foundation is underway to provide new furnishings, fixtures and equipment – expenses which were not covered by the bond.
For more information on how to support the campaign, readers are asked to contact Kirsten Cowan at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 981-6115. More information about the North Branch Library’s opening celebration is available at www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org or by calling (510) 981-6195.