New Visitacion Valley Branch Library Opens July 30

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

July 14, 2011

New Visitacion Valley Branch Library Opens July 30

New Leland Avenue library features community program room and public art sculpture

The Visitacion Valley neighborhood will come together to celebrate the new Visitacion Valley Branch Library on July 30. Replacing a leased facility on Leland Avenue near Bayshore, the brand-new library at 201 Leland Ave., at Rutland Street, will feature more than 9,000 square feet of space and an expanded collection of material, designated teen and children’s areas, a quiet study room, a beautiful hanging public art sculpture, 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. on Saturday, July 30. Library services will start at 2 p.m.  Leland Avenue will be closed between Rutland and Cora to through traffic during the event. City Librarian Luis Herrera and Supervisor Malia Cohen are among the city and state officials planning to attend the opening celebration.

“After more than 75 years of library services in leased or temporary facilities, we are thrilled to provide this neighborhood with a brand new prominent library that will serve as a focal point for this diverse community well into the future,” said City Librarian Luis Herrera. “The library’s location on Leland Avenue’s commercial corridor and its proximity to recreation centers and schools will make it a community anchor adding to the revitalized and vibrant neighborhood.”

“DPW strives to cultivate public pride through world class design and we have reflected that in the new Visitacion Valley Branch Library. We listened to the community and designed and built a new library with a strong civic presence visible from every corner of the neighborhood. We are excited to be at the heart of this celebration by delivering a state of the art facility for our growing and diverse community,” said Ed Reiskin, Director of Public Works.

The building was designed by the San Francisco Bureau of Architecture’s Library Design Studio, Department of Public Works. The lead architect also designed the nearby Visitacion Valley Playground Clubhouse. The construction was designed to make it a sustainable building, certified to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver or greater from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new library opens into a central atrium, with high ceilings and grand arched entryways separating the individual collections. The light-filled and sustainable architectural design underscores the openness and accessibility of knowledge to everyone.

The Library will be the neighborhood’s first city-owned branch and will be seismically safe and ADA accessible. The new branch will offer more public computers, wireless access, self-checkout machines and also have a flexible design to accommodate future technologies. Outside the branch, benches and tiled patios surround the building, providing a welcoming touch for the neighborhood.

A number of sustainable features are incorporated in this new branch including an energy efficient heating system, operable glazing for ventilation and the use of low VOC and sustainable finishes.

A key feature of the building is the new public art, created by Mark Grieve and Ilana Spector. Titled Full Circle, the dynamic sculpture is suspended from the central dome of the library, evoking a “universe of possibilities.” Made of interlocking steel hoops and recycled bicycle gears, it allows a series of intersecting rhythms that serve as a visual metaphor for the human experience and evokes technology and humanities; astronomy and biology, and “communicates to all walks of life.”

The construction of the Visitacion Valley Branch Library was funded by a bond measure passed by San Francisco voters in 2000. Visitacion Valley is the 20th library project to be completed under the Branch Library Improvement Program. Project costs totaled about $13.4 million including property acquisition.

The Visitacion Valley Branch will include new furniture, fixtures and equipment. Friends of the San Francisco Public Library is raising funds from private donations to pay for these items. To get involved in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood campaign, please contact

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

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