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Main Library Project

1213 Newell Road

The Main Library, designed by Edward Durrell Stone, opened in 1958 following a voter approved bond measure that also funded the construction of the Mitchell Park Library. The library is located on Newell Road across from the Palo Alto Art Center. The building is 26,313 square feet, including a 5,000 square foot basement. This library has the largest collection in the system, including the principal reference collection and the archives of the Palo Alto Historical Association. It serves primarily adults and teens and has a very small children’s collection. The Library is open 62 hours per week.

While the building has received small remodels over the years, it needs a total renovation to bring it up to current codes and standards and to provide needed spaces to accommodate needs of its users. The building lacks any community or group study spaces, resulting in limited programming and the inability for groups to work together on projects without disturbing other users. The existing lighting system provides insufficient illumination for a library – a recent building analysis determined that the luminous ceiling has significantly degraded and transmits only 8%-11% of the light through the panels. Poor lighting is a source of many complaints. The building is heated by hot water from a boiler in the Cultural Center, and there is no air-conditioning.

Features of the proposed design for the renovation:

  • Total renovation to bring building up to current codes and standards
  • New wing off of south entrance with meeting room seating 100 and additional restrooms
  • 4 small group study rooms off the ends of the reading room
  • Dedicated room for teens
  • Upgraded lighting
  • Upgraded electrical systems to support use of technology
  • New mechanical systems, including radiant heating and cooling system in the floor
  • Enhanced area for the Palo Alto Historical Association
  • New carpet and paint

Approved Conceptual Design for Main