Demolition at West Branch. Photo: Berkeley Public Library

Demolition began Wednesday on the West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library on University Avenue and, within a few hours, the bulldozers had knocked down much of the building.

The West Branch, which was constructed in 1923, is being torn down to make way for a larger and more modern building. When completed in 2013, it will be 9,400 square feet, almost a third larger than the old structure. It will also be zero net energy, which means it will produce more energy than it consumes through the solar panels on the roof.

Work is also progressing on the South Branch of the library on Russell Street. Last week construction crews pumped in concrete to form the new foundation.

The new Claremont and North Branches are already open, paid for by Measure FF,  a $26 million bond. The bond does not pay for furniture or equipment for the renovated branches. The Berkeley Public Library Foundation is raising funds for that. The group has already raised more than $2.6 million and it hopes to raise a total of $3.5 million.

For up to date information on the libraries construction, follow the Branch Improvement Blog.

Pumping concrete to form a concrete slab for the South Branch. Photo: Berkeley Public Library

Debate on future of two city libraries sparks concerns [03.14.11]
Gleaming North Branch to open on Thursday [03.03.12]
Renovated Claremont Branch opens Saturday [05. 03.12]

Did you hear Berkeleyside has its own radio station? Listen to musicians who are performing locally on Berkeleyside Radio, courtesy of DeliRadio. Read more about it.

Avatar photo

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...