New Hayward Library & Community Learning Center

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1. Why does Hayward need a new library?

Hayward has far outgrown its existing library. When the present Hayward Main Library was built in 1951, Hayward had a population of 14,000 people. Today, the city of Hayward is the Bay Area’s fifth largest city, a bustling and diverse community of nearly 150,000 people.

Though it is among the largest and most populous cities in the region, Hayward’s libraries are by far the smallest of any jurisdiction in the Bay Area when measured by square feet per capita. In fact, Hayward’s libraries are among the very smallest in the entire State of California.

libraries square feet per capita

click to enlarge chart

As Hayward’s population continues to grow, pressure on the existing Main Library building continues to increase. Today, Hayward Library is busier than ever before in its 100-year history, with well over one million library books and media items circulated per year. Foot traffic in the library long ago reached  maximum capacity. Hayward Public Library is visited over 600,000 times per year -- 400,000 visits per year at the downtown Main Library alone. The library’s after school homework tutoring centers provide 15,000 individual tutoring sessions to over 1,200 Hayward students each year. The library’s computers – a vital community resource – log over 120,000 individual internet sessions per year with an average time of nearly 40 minutes per session. The library has only one small and inadequate meeting room available to host the hundreds of library educational programs that take place each year including the homework tutoring centers, unfortunately leaving no space for other community meetings. The current 1950’s-era main library building lacks the capacity and infrastructure to accommodate the current volume and future population growth.

To address this critical issue, in 2007 the city of Hayward initiated a planning and community feedback process to determine the library spaces and services needed to serve the Hayward community over the next thirty years. The resulting Community Needs Analysis (2008) concluded that Hayward’s current level of library space of 0.23 square feet per capita was extremely deficient, and recommended that overall library space in Hayward should be increased to at least 0.50 square feet per capita, and preferably to the Bay Area average of 0.75 square feet per capita. The study also concluded that to meet current and projected demands, the severely undersized and outdated Main Library should be replaced by a new 55,000 square foot, multi-level facility designed to meet the Hayward community’s needs through the year 2030 and beyond. This comprehensive data was combined with additional community input to develop a detailed  preliminary building design and building concept, “Heart of the City,” which was reviewed and approved by City Council in 2010.

On Tuesday, July 16, 2013, the City Council reviewed the updated design renderings of the proposed 55,000 square foot, energy-efficient, high-tech 21st century Library & Community Learning Center for Hayward, created by Noll & Tam Architects. The meeting was well attended by a capacity audience of Hayward residents and library supporters.

2. Have other nearby communities built new libraries recently?

Several Bay Area communities have built new libraries since the year 2000, including: Castro Valley, San Leandro, Dublin, Livermore, Milpitas, Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, Santa Clara, San Jose, San Francisco, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, Redwood City, and San Mateo, among others.

New libraries built since year 2000
New libraries built since year 2000

3. Where will Hayward’s new Library & Community Learning Center be located?

On the corner of C Street and Mission Boulevard in downtown Hayward, between the post office and City parking garage (currently the site of a municipal parking lot), and across the street from Hayward’s historic central park.

4. Why not simply expand the old library?

Expanding the old library would present significant and costly challenges to bring the old structure up to current building and seismic safety standards, and still would not provide the amount of space needed to accommodate Hayward’s current and future needs. The historic park where the library is currently located is densely filled with mature century-old trees dating back to the founding days of Hayward. To expand or build a large enough library on the historic park site would require the removal of numerous mature and historic trees.

5. How will the community be involved in the design process?

A series of public meetings have been scheduled to review the design and plans and to invite comments and feedback. The presentations and discussions will be facilitated by Noll+Tam Architects. Upcoming dates and times are as follows:

- May 1, 2014, 6:30pm at the Main Library, 835 C Street. RSVP is required: RSVP
- May 31, 2014, 10:00am at the Main Library, 835 C Street.
- June 24, 2014, 7:00pm at City Hall, 777 B Street, Council Chambers.

6. Will the new building be “green” and energy-efficient?

Yes! Hayward’s new Library & Community Learning Center will be built to the highest level of energy-efficient certification possible. The new building will feature an array of rooftop solar panels that will power the entire building with free energy from the sun. This is known as Net Zero Energy. In addition to saving millions of dollars in energy costs, it will also significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint.

As a Net Zero Energy building, Hayward’s new Library & Community Learning Center will obtain LEED Gold Certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) standards at a minimum, and potentially LEED Platinum.

7. What will happen to the old library (and the surrounding park) after the new library is built?

One of Hayward’s most impressive yet underutilized assets is its historic tree-filled central “library park”. In the early days of Hayward in the mid-1800’s, the park was part of the homestead of the original ranch owner in the area, Don Guillermo Castro. His adobe house once stood nearby, in the area of present day C Street and Mission Boulevard. Next to Don Castro’s house was a large corral for his horses. By 1889, Don Castro’s former corral had become the central park in the new town of “Haywards”. Some of the trees in present day “library park” date back to these early days of Hayward. The park features over 40 varieties of rare and mature trees, including impressive specimens of native Giant Sequoia and Coast Redwoods, century old American Elms, and some of the largest and oldest specimens of exotic tree species in the Bay Area including a mature Australian Bunya Pine and a 100-foot tall Chinese Gingko—one of the oldest tree species in the world dating back 270 million years.

The construction of a new Library & Community Learning Center across the street from the old library presents the unique and unparalleled opportunity to restore “library park” to its true potential as Hayward’s historic central park and arboretum. Very few cities can boast of having such a beautiful and stately central park with century old historic trees in the heart of downtown – it takes 100 years of growth to achieve a tree canopy like the one the Hayward community has in “library park”. One possible way to restore and preserve its historic status as Hayward’s original central park would be to create a large community meadow or plaza in the heart of the park in place of the 1950’s era library structure. This community open space would be an ideal location for multiple outdoor festivals, music performances, cultural events, farmer’s markets, and many other public events for the benefit and enjoyment of the entire Hayward community.

• Community Needs Analysis for a New Hayward Library (2008)
• Hayward Library and Community Learning Center Building Program (2010)
• Staff Report: Preliminary Design Options (2010)
• City Council Presentation: Preliminary Design (2010)
• Data: Bay Area Library Rankings by Size (2012)
• City Council presentation: Design Visualizations (July 16, 2013)
• Hayward Measure C: Ballot information (Election Day: June 3, 2014)

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