Branch libraries getting makeovers
Alameda’s two branch libraries are getting a makeover this year, and the city is holding two community meetings next week to give you the 411.
The meetings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 10 at the West End Library, 788 Santa Clara Avenue, and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12 at the Bay Farm Island Library, 3221 Mecartney Road.
The presentations will address the libraries’ floor plans; electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning; disability access; historic elements; and technology enhancements, per a press release from the city’s Public Works department, which is managing the renovation projects.
Library Director Jane Chisaki said the proposed new floor plans for the libraries, which consultants the city hired to look at them said lack the space for all the people they serve, programs they host and books they house, could be of particular interest to people.
“We are really thinking about refocusing the service, and it may surprise people to see how much we can actually do,” Chisaki said.
The consultants who penned the report on the condition of the two branch libraries last July found that both were too small both for all the books and media they house and that they lacked separated spaces for all the libraries’ competing uses (think story time for tots in the middle of the library). Chisaki said the proposed floor plans are similar to those contained in the report.
The West End library had 67,305 visits last year; the Bay Farm library got 80,658.
The 29-year-old Bay Farm library has no air conditioner, and when it gets hot, temperatures can reach 90 degrees, the consultants found. The West End library, built in 1936, is old and drafty, and its furnace is just about ready to retire, they said. Neither building has the infrastructure to support additional technology.
The report also contains a host of long-term recommendations for expanding and improving the libraries’ offerings. Ultimately, the West End will need a new library that is five times the size of the current model, and the Bay Farm library will need to be nearly tripled in size. But that, apparently, is a battle for another day.
The schedule for the renovations has not yet been set, though Library Director Jane Chisaki said they could begin as soon as this fall. Check here for updates when the schedule gets firmed up and closures are announced.
The city has set aside about $2 million for the renovations from the Measure O library bond.
For more information, you can check in with Laurie Kozisek at Public Works next week at 749-5840.