Parkside Library to Re-open in November

By Judith Kahn

The Parkside Branch Library will re-open its doors on Nov. 6 after a major renovation.

The project cost $4.7 million, and took one year to complete. It is the first of 10 planned library renovations that will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification standards.

To fulfill the requirements for Silver Certification, many small changes were implemented during the construction process to make the library "green."

"We are thrilled to complete this innovative renovation project to serve as a model of sustainability for future construction, as well as an educational and inspirational green resource for our users," said city librarian Luis Herrera.╩

When renovating the library, existing╩materials were salvaged when possible, and greener, more renewable products were substituted as needed.

The exterior of the library has changed only slightly with an accessibility ramp crossing the front of the building. Major renovation changes took place in the building's interior. Glazed windows now allow natural lighting to shine through, maximizing the efficiency of the building's heating╩ system.╩The new cork flooring is both renewable and biodegradable, and water use is reduced through installation of efficient fixtures, such as low-flow faucets in the new bathrooms. Paints, adhesives and sealants used in the work contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds.

A new teen area has been added and book cases were flipped and repositioned for greater access to natural light in the building. A San Francisco Public Library-designed "play-to-learn" panel in the children's room educates children about recyclable materials through play, and a collection area has been installed for recycling and compostables. All construction materials were purchased locally, and none of the new library furniture contains any volatile organic compounds.

The technological changes that have been╩implemented╩ make the library more user-friendly - with more updated computers available, self-checkout machines and wifi access, as well as more power plugs for people who bring their own laptops. Since the renovation, staff and public areas are now more functional.

Renovation funding was made possible through the combined efforts of members of the Parkside and Sunset communities, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the city library system. They organized many events, sent out numerous fundraising letters, manned tables at neighborhood festivals and fairs, and reached out to schools, religious organizations,╩business and neighborhood associations, soliciting gifts of all sizes. (Members of the public who want to donate to the Parkside Library Campaign can contact Marian Chatfield-Taylor at (415) 626-7512, ext. 103 (

The Parkside Branch Library serves the Parkside neighborhood and central Sunset area up to West Portal. As in all of the library renovation projects completed in San Francisco, major goals are to make the branch seismically safe, fully accessible and technologically updated.

"The renovations implemented at the Parkside Branch Library transfers a mid-century modern branch library into a model of sustainable construction," said Michelle Jeffers, a library representative working on the overhaul of city libraries.