California State University East Bay

New public library to open in 2017

October 17, 2014

After more than 60 years, Hayward is on track to getting a new and improved library and downtown park by the end of 2017.

The three-floor library will be built on the empty parking lot next to the Post Office on C Street and will serve as a replacement of the old Hayward Main Library, built in the 1951. The library and additional park will be built entirely using funds raised from Measure C, which was passed by Hayward voters in June, and will cost $59.9 million.

The city plans to have the library building completed by February 2017, and will begin the construction of the park, which will take the place of the current library in May 2017 and will be completed by September.

Christopher Noll of Noll & Tam Architects along with Manuela King of RHAA architects presented the projected timeline and details of the library and park design at a meeting in the Hayward Library last Saturday. The library will feature a zero net energy design, which will use zero fossil fuels and run solely on solar energy generated by the building. In San Leandro, a similar building was built last year.

The most commonly stated reason for the need of a new library is that the community has outgrown the original building. Hayward’s library is one of the smallest in the state, according to their website, and a new library would solve issues of there not being enough bathrooms and not enough space for the literacy and homework programs held in the library. Since the original library was built, Hayward’s population has increased tenfold.

A park to commemorate Spanish landowner Don Castro, whose ranch was situated on the site of the current library building, will replace the Hayward Main Library. The park’s design was chosen by residents out of three options during a survey period between April and May, and will feature an oval design with many native tree species and horse sculptures to recognize Hayward’s past.

“This is a historic plan of a plaza when it was initially developed and you really have an incredible resource here,” said King. “This is your civic center, this is where you can gather as a community…when the library goes away you have a new urban center that is really going to become a very special place for the downtown.”

The library itself will have a variety of rooms to cater to students, including a digital maker space that will feature sound and digital editing equipment, a garden, and multiple times the number of bathrooms than the current library has, which was a major criticism of the current library.

The homework help area has been expanded to double its size, said Sean Reinhart, director of library and community services, and literacy spaces have been similarly expanded. The meeting room will be accessible after hours, which will allow residents to use the space at night if they get permission beforehand, said Reinhart.

They plan for the library and park to be a location for festivals, music performances, cultural events, and will be a central downtown plaza for the Hayward community. They also hope for the farmer’s market, which is held in front of the city hall building along Watkins Street between B Street and C Street, can expand further into the park.

To see additional concept images of the library and park design, visit haywardlibrary.org.

A more complete plan of the library and plaza will be presented to the City Council at 7 p.m. on Nov. 18, said Reinhart, and the public is invited for comment.

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