Noe Valley Voice November 2005

Library Still Open for Final Farewells

By Laura McHale Holland

The Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library, scheduled to shut down in the near future for $4.2 million worth of seismic renovations and improvements, is still open for now.

"We're up in the air about closing because we want to keep the library open as long as possible, rather than set a date now and possibly end up with the library sitting empty for weeks before renovations begin," says Children's Librarian Carol Small, the Noe Valley Library's acting manager.

Contractors had until Oct. 26 to submit bids to renovate the 89-year-old building at 451 Jersey Street. City officials next must analyze the bids and select a contractor before the library closes for the estimated two-year project.

Small says details about the closing, as well as a date for the farewell party, will be posted at the library as soon as they're known. The earliest the closing could be would be late November.

Meanwhile, she suggests that loyal patrons, as well as new visitors, take this opportunity to come by and enjoy the ambience of the old library, built in 1916 by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

"One of my favorite things is the central stairway with marble on both sides. It's quite nice," says Small, who's worked at the branch for 15 years. She also points out the elaborate ornamental woodwork on the library's ceiling.

"The [renovation] architects are preservationists, and thankfully a lot of the beautiful historic details of the building will be retained," she notes.

This might be a reader's last chance to sit and relax on the library's comfortable couch, however, since after the retrofit most of the furnishings will be new (and funded by local residents).

During the renovation, Small or other Noe Valley staff will conduct Noe Valley's children's programs at Upper Noe Recreation Center on Day Street. They'll also bring books to the neighborhood via a library bookmobile. (The bookmobile will be parked on Elizabeth Street near Diamond two mornings a week.)

But for now, the books are still on the shelves and the programs will continue as scheduled at the Noe Valley branch. This month, preschool story time, for kids 2 to 5, will be held on Tuesdays, Nov. 1, 8, and 29, at 10 a.m. Parents can bring their infants and toddlers to the library's lapsit program on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 10:30 a.m. Children's films will be shown at both 10 and 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

Noe Valley­Sally Brunn Library hours are Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesdays, 1 to 9 p.m.; Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays, 1 to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call the branch at 355-5707 for updates.