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Palo Alto's Library Improvement Projects

In November 2008, 69.4% of Palo Alto voters passed a $76 million bond measure (Measure N) to fund major facility improvements to three libraries and the Mitchell Park Community Center. The City has allocated $4 million in infrastructure funds to complete an extensive historic renovation of the College Terrace Library and childcare center.

The City of Palo Alto is moving forward on the three important and exciting library and community center projects that will be funded by Measure N. These projects will take five years to complete. The construction projects will be managed by Public Works, communication will be provided by the City Manager’s Office, bond issuance will be handled by Administrative Services, and the Library and Parks and Recreation Departments will coordinate temporary closures as well as services at the new facilities. At the conclusion of this process, we will have modern libraries offering places for everyone in our community to gather and learn.

What’s going on at my library?

The renovation and expansion of Children’s Library was completed in September, 2007 and no further work is planned. This project was funded by the City and with private donations.

College Terrace
This neighborhood library will close in the summer of 2009 for 12-14 months to complete the extensive renovation project. This project is funded by the City, not by Measure N.

Detailed architectural planning is underway for the renovation of this neighborhood library. Downtown Library will close spring of 2010 and reopen in spring of 2011.

Planning will begin on this library in 2011 with construction in 2012 and a reopening in 2013. In addition to a thorough renovation of the existing building, a new wing for programs will be added to the library along with four study rooms. A smaller temporary facility will be available at a location to be determined later.

Mitchell Park Library and Community Center
Detailed architectural planning is underway for this new building. The existing facilities are scheduled to close in the spring of 2010 with temporary services provided during the two years of demolition and construction. Mitchell Park Library will be relocated to the Cubberley Center Auditorium during the closure. Mitchell Park community center activities will be redistributed to other locations during the closure. The new building will open in 2012.

When will the tax for the bonds show up on my property bill?

The bill for 2010-2011 that arrives in the fall of 2010 will include part of the tax, reflecting the first bond issuance. The bill for 2012-2013 will likely include the total annual amount of the tax, reflecting all bond issuances.

When will the bonds be issued?

Administrative Services is planning to issue a sufficient number of bonds in 2010 to cover the construction for the Downtown and Mitchell Park projects, and additional bonds 2012 when the construction for Main Library begins.

How is the public art chosen and paid for?

City ordinance requires one percent of construction costs to be used for public art. For example, that would be about $280,000 for Mitchell Park Library and Community Center. The city’s Public Art Commission manages the selection process for the artist and the art.

Who is the architect for the projects?

Group 4 Architecture was selected for the Downtown, Mitchell Park, and Main library projects. They have designed many libraries in the Bay Area, such as the new Santa Clara City Library and the expansion and renovation of the Burlingame Library. The architect for College Terrace is KPA Architects.

If the bond passed, why is there still fundraising?

By State law, Measure N funds can only be used for design and construction of the buildings themselves. The City will need funding for many new computers, accessible bookshelves, modern furniture, and additional books. The Palo Alto Library Foundation is spearheading a fundraising campaign to provide the funds for these items. 

Who should I contact if I have more questions?

Kelly Morariu in the City Manager’s Office at 329-2452 or Kelly.morariu@cityofpaloalto.org.

Planned Projects

Current and Completed Projects

Library/Community Center Bond Information

Project Information

Library Planning