Is the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library closing?
No. The branch will relocate from 160 41st Street to an existing modular facility to be leased from the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) on the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School grounds at 4314 Piedmont Avenue (on Echo Avenue near Glen Avenue). Service at the branch will be interrupted for a short period of time while the branch moves out of the 41st Street location and prepares the new branch for service to the public.
Why is the branch moving?
The branch is relocating to achieve lower total facility costs and the stability of a long-term lease. The future of the Piedmont Avenue Branch Library was uncertain beginning in 2009 when a new owner purchased the building and the rent that the City paid for the branch went from $1 to $4,250 per month. The Library worked with the community for several years to explore and evaluate options for the branch.
Why will the branch close and when will it reopen?
The branch will close on Saturday, November 10 and reopen at the new location on Tuesday, November 27. A Grand Opening Celebration will be held Saturday, December 1.
How was the community notified of this pending move?
A notice of the pending move was posted in the branch in August. Prior to that, over 15 meetings were held with the public or public interest groups in order to discuss the issues related to the Piedmont Avenue Library and the various options that have been investigated. The first public meeting was held in January 2010 and the most recent meeting was held on May 29, 2012. The Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library conducted a community survey in April-May 2010; a notice of the anticipated move was posted in the branch in late 2011; articles were published in the PANIL newsletter and online; and presentations by Library Administration at community meetings have also been published online:
Was the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School involved in planning this move?
Yes. Library representatives met with the school principal and the PTA during the planning process. Among other topics, traffic and parking concerns were discussed and mitigation strategies are being implemented. To protect school children, a fence will separate the library from school facilities.
Is the new branch accessible to persons with disabilities?
Yes. The new location will meet ADA requirements. In addition, to assist in ensuring that access for our seniors and disabled individuals is addressed, the Library has been supported in its efforts by Piedmont Gardens that their shuttle will establish drop off schedules at the new library.
Is there a long-term plan for the Piedmont Avenue Library?
The lease with OUSD allows for continuous library service in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood, a priority for this location which has the fourth highest circulation among Oakland's 16 branches. The lease is a "medium-term" solution that allows the Library and the community to focus their efforts on securing a facility that will meet the community's needs for the long-term. An option that has been discussed with the community is the development of a self-taxing district or Mello-Roos district, similar to that formed for the construction of the Rockridge Library. This option will require further planning with the community and merchant groups.
Who can I contact for more information?
Contact Mary Schrader, Branch Services Library, at (510) 238-3680 or MSchrader@oaklandlibrary.org.