A New Library and So Much More
Apr 15, 2019 10:59AM
● By Sue Noack
A New Library and So Much More
Collaboration Between City, County, PH Rec & Park and MDUSD
By City Councilmember Sue Noack
The Pleasant Hill Library is an important part of this community. The combination of an incredible staff and library manager along with enthusiastic library patrons has resulted in fantastic programs and a vibrant library despite being a building past its prime. This community has dreamed and worked toward a new library for many years, and it finally is on the horizon.
A Library Task Force worked for many years, identifying locations, prioritizing needs and wants, and looking into funding alternatives. In 2014, the empty lot across from the current library was identified as the most desirable location, with the current site as a close second. With the passing of Measure K in 2016 for the financing of a library in addition to road and other infrastructure improvements, the possibility of a new library became a reality.
With significant work and collaboration between the City of Pleasant Hill, Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District, Contra Costa County, and the Mount Diablo Unified School District, a unique partnership has been formed to create a magnificent 15-acre project. The project includes a new library to replace the current outdated library; a new park featuringtwo baseball/softball fields with overlapping soccer fields, bocce courts, and a creekside walking trail; a new neighborhood of 34 single-family homes; and a greatly improved Monticello Avenue and adjacent section of Oak Park Boulevard.
A July 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) established a framework for the transfer of five acres at 1700 Oak Park Boulevard from Contra Costa County and the Mount Diablo Unified School District to the City of Pleasant Hill for the new library; the sale of five acres at 1700 Oak Park Boulevard to the Pleasant Hill Recreation & Park District for sports fields; and the ultimate sale by the County of 1750 Oak Park Blvd (the existing library site) to a home builder for construction of 34 single-family homes.
The city, county, and Rec& Park District are collaborating on several aspects of this project, including the Environmental Impact Report, which is expected to be released in the upcoming month. Coordination is also occurring with respect to the landscaping along the creek and the new and improved Monticello Avenue.
The city selected Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), an award-winning architect, to design the new library. They focused on community outreach with several town halls, numerous focus groups, and community discussions. The results of their design development are evident in the surrounding photos.
The new Pleasant Hill Library will be a place where people of all ages can explore, learn, and connect. As visitors go through the entry doors, they will find an open central space to support a collection of 70,000 items, and spaces for reading, storytelling, accessing technology, gathering, and collaborating. There will be a special “maker space” for hands-on creativity and outdoor spaces for reading and play. A bookstore will showcase high-quality used books sold by the Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library, and the Café Vibe will offer a comfortable area to bring a snack and chat with friends.
Construction is scheduled to begin this September, with the new library expected to open in spring of 2021. A temporary library will open at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center while the new library is being built. While details are still being worked out, some highlights include: 10,000 items available for check out, access to computers, storytimes, programs held at the Teen Center, and the ability to pick up materials ordered from ccclib.org.