New and renovated library openings around the state

Redwood Shores Branch Library holds grand opening

Redwood Shores Branch Library, a branch of the Redwood City Public Library, held its grand opening on Saturday, September 6. The library is nestled into a curve of the Belmont Slough, a setting that brings the surrounding natural environment into the total library experience. The new 21,507 square foot library has a nautical theme and includes an innovative children’s area with a “Storytelling Lighthouse.” The library also has a teen area, 5 community meeting rooms, a café, a computer lab, a homework center, a Friends of the Library Bookstore and much, much more. Redwood Shores Branch Library cost $18.6 million including a Bond Act Grant for $10.1 million.

The community has a great appreciation of the local environment and the library includes an interactive exhibit area that focuses on the land and wildlife of Redwood Shores—everyone will be able to learn about the bay, wetlands, and wildlife and watch local bay life in the giant aquarium.

For complete details about the Redwood Shores Branch Library construction project, please visit their page on the California State Library website.

Santa Maria Public Library

The new bond-funded Santa Maria Public Library is 60,821 square feet and is the largest civic project in the city’s history. The beautiful two-story building is 111% larger than the old library. It has 67% more books (275,000); 275% more computers (77); and 250-300 new reader seats. In addition, the library offer customers a children’s theater, café, community meeting room, literacy center, career center, teen area, separate study/tutoring rooms, and homework center.

Santa Maria Public Library’s grand opening on Saturday, August 23, saw residents and community leaders pack the library’s front plaza. Throughout the day 10,300 people visited and checked-out more than 3500 books and other items. Santa Maria staff issued more than 100 new library cards.

For complete details about the Santa Maria Public Library construction project, please visit their page on the California State Library website.

Calabasas Library opening

The Calabasas Library held its grand opening on Sunday, July 13, 2008. The 25,059 square foot library is part of the Civic Center Complex designed by award-winning New York architect Robert A.M. Stern. The new library includes an assembly room of approximately 3,000 square feet, a two-story 27,733 square foot city hall, a public plaza, an outdoor amphitheater plus landscaping, and pathways that allow pedestrians to cross over into adjacent developments. Over 75% of the Civic Center property has been established as permanent open space and both the library and the city hall are designed to use 40% less energy and 30% less water than standard structures.

The Civic Center Complex is built of composite materials and uses natural light to reduce energy consumption. A large part of the complex is built on a foundation made of melted-down weapons seized by the County of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The state of the art Calabasas Library offers meeting spaces, a community room, custom-made furnishing and much more to the Calabasas community.

For complete details about the Calabasas Library construction project, please visit their page on the California State Library website.

Locally Funded Library Openings

Some California libraries have locally raised all funds for constructing or renovating library facilities in their communities. If you know of a new library construction or renovation project in your area, please email CSL Connection Editor Sarah Dalton and we will include a profile of your library in an upcoming issue of CSL Connection.

Pearl Avenue Branch Library

San Jose residents gathered on Saturday August 9 to celebrate the opening of Pearl Avenue Branch Library, a 14,000 square foot community library that virtually doubles the size of the original library which occupied the site from 1971 to 2006. Following the dedication ceremony, residents were able to explore the library and enjoy free entertainment and activities for kids.

"Thanks to our residents' support, San Jose has been able to build new branch libraries throughout the city," said Mayor Chuck Reed at the opening. "I am delighted that the new Pearl Branch Library will be providing an important community gathering place for residents of all ages."

The expanded Pearl Avenue Branch Library features an Internet café; a living room with a fireplace; a technology center; a teen room; group and quiet study areas; a community room that will accommodate 50; and ample space for more seating, collections, and computers.  On-site parking accommodates 55 vehicles, in addition to nearby street parking.

Preserved perimeter trees open up the library to a viewing garden which creates a visual connection to nature that interior finish patterns and colors reinforce. The project design by Anderson Brulé Architects, Inc. is based upon green building principles outlined by the U.S. Green Building Council's "LEED" rating system.

Public art by Lynn Goodpasture fuses elements of ancient civilization and green technology. The artwork includes four colorful art glass windows located in the library Children's area, each with imagery drawn from ancient alphabets, and a suspended glass lamp near the library entrance.  Photovoltaic cells on the exterior of the four panes collect solar energy which provides the power that illuminates the lamp.

The $9.3 million facility is the twelfth library to be completed using funds from local bond measures approved in 2000 by San Jose voters. The project was completed $1 million under budget. Generous contributions from the local community helped to furnish the interior, providing furniture and equipment. Like Edenvale and Joyce Ellington before it, the Pearl Avenue project is the recipient of a $50,000 grant from AT&T, part of an overall pledge of $200,000 to the San José Public Library Foundation branch fundraising campaign and the single largest corporate donation to date.

The Branch Library Bond Measure provides $212 million over 10 years dedicated to the construction of six new and 14 expanded libraries in San Jose. At this stage, the Branch Bond Development Program is well advanced with 12 projects completed, and seven others in various phases of design and construction. 

For more information about the Pearl Avenue Branch Library, please visit their website at

Fowler Branch Library

Fowler Library, a branch of the Fresno County Public Library, held its grand opening on Saturday, July 19, 2008. The new library, which replaces a facility that had been rented and used as a library since 1914, cost $4,458,109 and was funded by revenues from a library sales tax and private donations.

The 8,660 square foot library reminds visitors of an early 20th century railroad depot. Incorporating classic and modern elements, it reflects the community of Fowler, from the historic mural to the “railroad club car” in the History Quiet Room. Other special features include: separate areas for children, teens and adults; 30 public computers; 1 early literacy training station; a computer training lab; a community meeting room with seating capacity for 50 people that is also used as a homework center; a family friendly space; a local history area; a programming space; and a secured outdoor courtyard with a water feature.

The City of Fowler dreamed of a new library for over 25 years but planning did not begin until Measure B (a local sales tax) was passed in 1998 and the State Bond Act of 2000 was passed. The library submitted grant applications for the second and third cycles of the California Reading and Literacy Improvement and Public Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act of 2000 but was not funded. Local residents participated in community forums, and public meetings which produced information about community needs and expectations to incorporate into the new library’s design. Fundraising efforts began in earnest after the defeat of the 2006 Library Construction Bond Measure and the capital campaign that ensued raised $1.2 million for construction of the new library. In addition, the newly formed Friends of the Fowler Branch Library is continuing fundraising efforts by selling bricks in the walkway of the library and to date there have been an additional 150 donors.

Fowler Library is the first Fresno County Library to offer both wireless access and public use laptop computers. It also has regularly scheduled programming for teens and adults; pre-school story times; a Homework Center with 10 laptop computers for students; and expanded volunteer opportunities for teens and adults at the library. Further, the library is working with the Chamber of Commerce to provide small business, career and resume information to students and adults exploring career options at the library.

County Librarian Karen Bosch Cobb says, “Libraries are often the center of community life in smaller, rural towns like Fowler. Community support for this project was amazing and we are so honored to be creating this beautiful new library for current and future Fowler residents.”

For more information about the Fowler Library please visit their website at




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