Aug 2 2012

A Temporary Replacement Library that’s Smaller, Less Eco-friendly, More Expensive, Less Convenient, Less Accessible, with Fewer Books-

Beginning sometime in September, the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library will temporarily move into an old modular unit surrounded by high chain link fencing on an obscure side street.  The current location of the library at 160 41st Street with a convenient parking lot across the street was considered an asset by the proprietors of shops and services surrounding it in the heart of Piedmont Avenue. > Click to read more…

Jul 8 2012

Echo Avenue view of future library

playground view of future library

On Tuesday, July 3, the Oakland City Council (OCC) approved a five-year $150,000 lease and $200,000 for moving costs and tenant improvements to relocate the Piedmont Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library to a modular unit on Echo Avenue.

The Oakland Public Library (OPL) administrators have been in negotiation with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) for several years about moving the library to the grounds of the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School at 4314 Piedmont Avenue.   The used modular unit has been an OUSD classroom for some years and, according to the contract, is leased to the City in “as-is condition.  …City acknowledges that neither District nor District’s agents have made any representation or warranty as to the suitability of the Modular Building…”  The modular unit is approximately 1600 square feet (compared with the current 1700 square foot library building) and is located four and a half blocks from the current library location.

The modular unit will be rented for $2500 per month or $30,000 per year –  $150,000 for the term of the five-year lease agreement.  According to the lease contract, it commences as of “February 1, 2012 or when the modular has been delivered to the City.”  Utility expenses will be estimated by the OUSD and paid by the City of Oakland.  The terms of this agreement with the OUSD were recommended for approval by OPL staff.  On June 26, the Life Enrichment Committee of the OCC also recommended the proposed agreement and tenant improvements funding.

The rent will be paid from Measure Q fund 2241, the Oakland library parcel tax approved by 77.2% of voters in Oakland.  The $200,000 for the cost of the move and tenant improvements to the modular unit will come from Library Trust Fund 7540. 

The Piedmont Avenue branch library has been the original and only tenant in the architect-designed library building since 1932.  When Citibank offered to sell the library building to the City of Oakland in 2008 and 2009, Oakland declined.  Citibank then required the private purchaser of the adjacent bank building to buy the library building and library building lot as a condition of the purchase of the bank building and its lot.  For an entire year the new owner privately subsidized the library by providing it with free rent.  When the City remained uninterested in buying the library building, the new owner offered a 10-year lease at $4250 per month.  The City declined this offer as well, but in the fall of 2010 entered into a one-year lease with a one-year optional extension.  When the first year of the lease expired, the City declined to exercise the extension.  In order to have more flexibility, the City preferred a month-to-month tenancy with a 30-day intention to vacate notice provision and a monthly rent of $4900.  It is expected that the 30-day notice will be given by the City Administrator this summer.

Three libraries in the OPL System are not City-owned: the Cesar Chavez Branch Library in the Fruitvale BART transit village, the Eastmont Branch Library in Eastmont Mall, and the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library at 160 41st Street with convenient parking across the street in the Key Route Parking Lot.  The move into the modular unit is viewed as a temporary situation, lasting at most five years, until a permanent library facility can be planned and financed. 

May 18 2012

The status of the Piedmont Avenue Library will be discussed at a meeting on May 29 at 7 p.m., Piedmont Gardens, 110 41st Street in the 5th Floor Community Room.  Council member Jane Bruner and the Associate Director of the Oakland Public Library, Gerry Garzon, will be providing an update on the possible relocation of the library.

Feb 29 2012

Celebrating 80 Years in Architecturally-Designed Building – 

The Piedmont Avenue branch of the Oakland Public Library has been the only tenant in the architect-designed  library building since 1932.  The Library’s 80 years of service will be celebrated from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, with music, cupcakes, face painting and more.   > Click to read more…

Feb 13 2012

The Oakland Branch Library on 40th Street remains open on a month-to-month basis for now.    In its June 2011 decision, Oakland’s City Council approved a budget for the 2011-2013 fiscal years that suggested all Oakland Public branch libraries would remain open.  Piedmont Avenue neighbors hoped that included the branch library on Piedmont Avenue.  See hours of all Oakland libraries. > Click to read more…

Jul 3 2011

On June 28 and 30 Oakland’s City Council approved a budget for the 2011-2013 fiscal years that reportedly keeps all Oakland Public branch libraries open during that time period.  But does that really include the Piedmont Avenue library? > Click to read more…

Jun 24 2011

A group of Montclair residents are organizing and calling for the creation of a private library rather than lose their branch of the Oakland Public Library.  It is not clear whether the City of Oakland would rent the library building to a private library association, or whether an alternative location would have to be found. > Click to read more…

Jun 24 2011

On the evening of Tuesday, June 21, several hundred Oakland library supporters gathered at Oakland City Hall.  They filled every seat on the main floor of the chamber, both galleries, the grand staircase leading up to the chamber as well as the amphitheater in the plaza.  They had come to oppose the proposed budget that would close most of the branch libraries and  drastically reduce services in the four remaining libraries.  (See library articles.)  However, the Oakland City Council, once more, postponed consideration of the city’s FY 2011-12 budget, as it had on June 7.

The Oakland Council did, however, approve the second reading of the increase in the Measure Q parcel tax, the Library Services Retention and Enhancement Act of 2004.  > Click to read more…

Jun 17 2011

For the first time in a very long time a new public space is being  created in Piedmont. Piedmont residents are invited to join the conversation about the best use of the unique, centrally located, public space in the east wing of 801 Magnolia, the former Christian Science Building.  (Comment below.)

While the west wing of 801 Magnolia has been leased to the Piedmont Center for the Arts, another large space exists in the east wing of the property.  The Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) Committee recently recommended that public input be solicited on the use of this rare, new public space.  Councilman Garret Keating wrote to PCA on June 8, raising the idea of a small library or reading room in the unleased east wing.  Keating asked, “Is there a Friends of Piedmont Library out there that could take this on?”  (Read full Keating comment.)

Residents recognize the lack of an attractive, comfortable public space in Piedmont.  At the same time, several senior programs are concerned their use of the Veterans Hall space will be terminated.   Creating “A Piedmont Place” in the east wing of 801 Magnolia could provide much needed small meeting space for local groups, offer a gathering place for residents, and accommodate varied interests of the Piedmont community.

The east wing space could open up the opportunity for residents to engage in literary forums, lectures, writing groups, book reviews and author readings, drop-in chess games, book groups, a book exchange, plus provide access to one or more online libraries.  Daily newspapers and donated magazines for perusing, “new favorite books” recommendations, and more could be available.  Residents could volunteer their talents, skills and time to provide some of the services that Piedmont, having no public library of its own, currently lacks. > Click to read more…

Jun 11 2011

Oakland Public LibraryOakland citizens supporting library services and librarians have organized to protest the proposed closing of 15 libraries and the planned reduction of hours at the remaining 4 libraries. Their organization, Save Oakland Library is gathering signatures on a petition that states, “We, the undersigned, protest any proposal to close or reduce services at any Oakland library.”  > Click to read more…