News Release - February 6, 2009

For Immediate Release: February 6, 2009

Contacts: Michelle Jeffers (415) 557-4282

New Portola Branch Opens Feb. 28

New facility features program room, dedicated teen space and expanded children's area

The Portola neighborhood will come together to celebrate the new Portola Branch Library on Feb. 28. Replacing a leased facility on San Bruno Avenue, the brand-new library at 380 Bacon St., will feature more books and materials, a dedicated teen space, an expanded children's area, plus a program room accessible after hours for community meetings.

A grand opening celebration will kick off with lion dancers and musicians in front of the new branch. Festivities begin at 1 p.m. Library services will start at 2 p.m. Goettingen Street will be closed between Bacon and Burrows streets to through traffic during the event. City Librarian Luis Herrera, State Senator Leland Yee and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell are among the city and state officials attending the opening celebration.

'In this time of economic uncertainty, libraries are providing a haven for information and recreation. We are excited that San Francisco's Branch Library Improvement Program continues to build and renovate neighborhood libraries," said City Librarian Luis Herrera. "A brand new library in the Portola neighborhood will serve a multicultural community of children, teens and seniors for generations to come."

The 6,300-square-foot space occupies a site acquired from the San Francisco Unified School District on a corner of the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School facility. The light and airy new branch features a new, view garden, an expanded children's section that will be able to accommodate school visits, a designated teen space and a program room that will allow after-hours access for the community. The branch also includes new furniture and shelving, an expanded collection of books, CDs, DVDS and other materials, a prominent reading area, more computers, Wi-Fi access to the Internet and more functional staff work spaces.

A beautiful public art display of four handmade glass and metal shutters by Dana Zed will welcome patrons into the branch. Inspired by the many nurseries once located in the Portola neighborhood, Zed created a colorful set of 20 individual and unique glass panels depicting California's indigenous wildflowers. The designs provide a translucent artwork that can be viewed from both the exterior and interior of the branch.

Architecture firm Stoner Meek/Noll & Tam designed the new branch library, drawing from a range of inspiration - the form of books themselves, open to the public, and the rhythm and scale of traditional San Francisco neighborhood bay windows. At the library entrance, the public is welcomed by an airy art-filled Periodical Room. The porch-like quality of this entry continues along the full southern edge of the building, with reading chairs in each of the bay windows. The Department of Public Works managed the project.

Portola is the ninth library project to be completed under the Branch Library Improvement Program, which is funded by a $105.9 million bond measure passed by voters in November 2000. The Portola branch is the second of four city branches that were housed in leased facilities and are being replaced by city-owned buildings. Project costs totaled about $3.3 million.

Over the past two years, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library has been working in partnership with neighborhood residents and communities to raise funds, awareness and support for the branch improvements. Friends contributed $500,000 towards the Portola Branch renovations, to pay for furnishings, fixtures and equipment-expenses not covered by the bond. Of this, almost $100,000 has been raised by the Portola Library Campaign Committee. For more information on how to support the Portola Library Campaign, please contact Tina Tom, 626-7512 X106.

For more information about the Portola Branch Library's opening celebration, please call (415) 557-4277, or visit

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