New and Improved Library Proposed for Hayward

Situated next to Hayward’s historic post office on the corner of Watkins and C Street, the city’s new library will provide its residents with a much needed expanded space for learning and education.

The problem is funding. The library is slated to cost $59.8 million, and the city has no way of funding it, except through grants or taxes. Councilmember Barbara Halliday proposed getting some of the funding through grants, but admitted that the inevitable solution was to put forward a bond measure or a tax to the citizens of Hayward, potentially within the next year.

“We are ultimately going to have to go to the voters. I am certainly willing to go to work for that,” said Halliday.

Councilmember Al Mendall added that a voter initiative would be the only way to make the project a reality within the next few years.

“That’s the reality. And I think the question we need to ask ourselves as a community is are we willing to go down that path,” Mendall said, adding that he was prepared to go out and campaign for the new library.

The 58,000 square foot structure in its current design would feature terra cotta bricks and glass facades facing the old Hayward Main Library, which would be converted into  park. Pictures of the preliminary designs can be found on the city’s website, under the city council agenda.

A central staircase on the inside of the building would give visitors access to all three floors of the building. The second floor, used for tutoring, can be left open after normal library hours for students to continue studying late into the night.

The library and parking garage situated behind it will be covered in solar panels. The project has the potential to be “zero net energy,” which means the building will consume as much energy as it produces from its solar panels. Sustainability was highlighted as a priority for the project.

To accommodate for the new design, C Street between Watkins Street and Mission Boulevard, would be narrowed by 30 feet to connect the library to the proposed park.

The city acknowledged this would have an effect on traffic flow, but further studies have to be conducted to fully understand the impact.

Councilmember Mark Salinas proposed demolishing the historic Bradford Station Post Office entirely to make room for further development of the library. The post office was built in 1938.

“Sometimes I feel here in Hayward we have a tendency to hold on to things too much or too long, you know if we need to let it go, we need to let it go,” Salinas said.

He added that he hoped with the demolition of the iconic Warren Hall in just a few weeks, Hayward could make its new library a new icon for the city.

Nearly a 100 people showed up to the city council meeting to show their support for the construction of a new library. Library tutors have long asked the city for expanded facilities. They claim that there simply is not enough room in the library to meet the demands for tutoring.

Anthony Nobriga has lived in Hayward for 44 years. He went to school up to 10th grade, but claimed that he could not read at a 1st grade level.

At 71 years old he joined the literacy plus program at the library to learn how to read. He felt embarrassed at first about his age, but felt at ease when he met an 85-year-old Hispanic woman who also was there to improve literacy skills.
“It’s very important that they open up the opportunity not only for me, but many others to learn, especially the children that are going there. You don’t want them to end up like I did, do you?” Nobriga said tearfully. He added that with a new and expanded library, more kids will have the opportunities they need to learn.