The new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center opened its doors to the public on Nov. 6 in a "soft" launch that will allow community members to have full access to the new state-of-the-art facility while staff continues to make some final operational adjustments. The official grand opening of the new library and adjoining community center is scheduled for Dec. 6, and staff is using the quiet opening to test and make sure all of the new equipment and technology is ready.
“Much of our equipment is brand new and it still requires some fine tuning,” said RuthAnn Garcia, manager of the Mitchell Park Library. “We are in the beta stage with some of it, but wanted to open our doors to the public as soon as possible. With the public's help, this next month will allow us to be ready for the heavy demand starting on Dec. 6 and beyond.”
The new community center’s front desk and courtyard are also open to the public today and staff will be available to process activity registrations, facility rental applications, and take payments. Programming for classes and other services is scheduled to begin Dec. 8.
The Mitchell Park Library is the largest of Palo Alto’s five branches. When it first opened in 1958, the library occupied 9,478 square feet. The new building, at 40,152 square feet, will be approximately four times larger than its predecessor with a collection projected to hold more than 140,000 items, including books in international languages.
Facility design and construction of the new library and community center was made possible through the passage of Measure N in 2008, which provided $46.39 million in funding to revitalize the library facilities throughout the City. The Palo Alto Library Foundation contributed $1.4 million for furniture, fixtures, and equipment, and $500,000 for materials. Library programing is funded through donations by the Friends of the Palo Alto Library. Staffing for the new library is supported through the City’s budget with the hours of library operation to remain the same.
The Dec. 6 grand opening festivities will run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning with opening remarks and a ribbon cutting by City staff and elected officials. The community is invited to enjoy a full day of free activities at the new center, including face painting, a jump house, story times, public art tours, sustainable and landscape tours, art center activities, Capoeira demos, Indian dance demos, and a Whole Foods cooking demo. Attendees will also be able to take one of several mini-classes from the offerings in the Community Services Department’s Enjoy Class Catalog. Throughout the day, several groups will be performing, including the PALY Jazz Band, Gunn Choir, Dance Connection, the Palo Alto Children’s Theatre, and Zohar Dance Company. The Palo Alto Fire and Police departments will also be on hand giving tours of fire engines and the City’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center.
Mitchell Park Library hours are Monday and Thursday, noon-8 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, 1-5 p.m. For hours at the other four library branches, click here.
The Mitchell Park Community Center reception desk will be open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The center is currently accepting facility rental applications for events in 2015. For more information regarding the center, please visit www.cityofpaloalto.org/mpcc.