The new 23,000 square foot 81st Avenue Branch Library is a civic and community beacon for its east Oakland neighborhood. The largest branch in the Oakland Public Library system, it also serves as a new academic library for two adjacent charter elementary schools.
The large dedicated teen area, quiet reading room, and storytime area are all zoned to provide multigenerational use with acoustic control. A media lab, classroom, and divisible community room serve both school and community programs. A cyber-caf is operated by a local youth employment program.
The distinctive architectural form and vibrant interiors reflect the communitys diverse design values as well as the Librarys commitment to innovation and sustainability. A standing-seam metal skin wraps around the faade and folds over the main reading room. Clerestory windows bring in controlled daylight and are a canvas for public art. Oversized window seats create a perch above the street, which is activated by storefront windows in the bookstore-style browsing area. Radiant heating/cooling and natural ventilation are among the strategies used to target LEED Silver certification pending.