Haight library to close for renovation
February 23, 2010 3:18 PM
Compared to other libraries in San Francisco, the Haight's Park Branch is small but substantial. Flanked by Victorian apartment buildings on Page Street, the building is tucked away from the bustle of Upper Haight and often surprises residents who have lived in the neighborhood for years but never realized a library was there.
Built in 1909, the branch is one of the oldest in the city. Park Branch is also one in a long
The $106-million bond measure granted $2.8 million to the Park Branch renovation and although the changes are mostly cosmetic, the building will be closed for a year come Feb. 26.
"The changes will make it a lot easier to work here, and they'll open the library up for our patrons," said the branch manager Cathy Delneo.
While the librarians are excited about the changes being made, some residents are wary and upset that a space they use so often will be closed until next year.
According to Delneo, for some elderly neighbors, a visit to the library is their only weekly excursion. Other families bring their children to story time on the same day every week, or students use the space as a means to escape apartment living and concentrate on their studies.
Other groups, like the Library Users Association, are downright livid about the closure. Peter Warfield, the executive director of the association, opposes the choice to use
One main change that Warfield disagrees with is the addition of an employee workspace on the top floor.
"Architecturally, it's a real violation of this temple-like space and you just don't put a workroom in the rotunda of city hall, or in a church, you have workrooms, but you
Neighborhoods across the city have seen renovations and closures as a result of the bond measure.
Currently in North Beach a new Mission Branch was added, and other projects have expanded as an unexpected result of the economic crisis because "the bids have been much more numerous and all these contractors are that much more hungry," according to Warfield.
Because of a lack of work, contractors have been more eager to take on the projects for less, leaving the bond program with excess funds, according to Warfield.
These funds, he thinks, should have been used to find spaces to temporarily function as libraries rather than to expand current projects.
"How is it possible that they can find millions for expansion and scope, but they don't have a penny for library service and patrons," Warfield said. "All this crying poor doesn't apply now because they have all these contractors falling over each other begging for the work."
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