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Santa Clara’s Northside Branch Library Construction Update
Posted Date: 8/15/2013 2:00 PM

The 25-year community dream for a branch library in Santa Clara’s North of Bayshore neighborhood is finally close to completion.  The 17,000 square-foot library building is LEED Silver Certified with a strong architectural connection with the Rivermark residential community, Don Callejon School and the surrounding commercial area.

The Northside Library will be the home of a collection of 54,000 books, DVDs, CDs, periodicals and other items as well as 40 public computers and welcoming spaces for children and teens.  It will have state-of-the-art seismic, audiovisual, technology and building systems, an electric vehicle charging station, a photocopy room and computer training room with 11 workstations for training sessions and classes.  In addition, plans are in place to have a community information board for announcing cultural, educational, and career opportunities, local programs and events, and Friends of the Library Store.   An estimated 3,254 residences comprising the Rivermark community will benefit from this neighborhood library making it a much-needed community gathering space for the North of Bayshore area.

The Board of Library Trustees first recommended construction of a new branch in the Northside area in 1987 and the City Council approved adding the facility to the list of future capital projects.  Funding for the library was delayed for several years due to budgetary constraints during the Great Recession.  When the economy showed signs of recovery, the City Council determined to move ahead with the project and groundbreaking occurred in July, 2012.

The Santa Clara City Library is one of the most used libraries in Silicon Valley, with almost 1.5 million visitors a year and a circulation count of 2.5 million items annually.  It is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 public libraries in the U.S.

The main library is located adjacent to Central Park, about five miles from the Northside Branch site.  The Mission Library Family Reading Center is located near the Santa Clara University campus. 

Unfortunately, just months away from fulfilling this community dream for a branch library, the City has been ordered to comply with an injunction forcing construction to come to a halt.   The stoppage is one of the most immediate and visible results of high stakes litigation brought by the Santa Clara County involving municipal assets that were part of the now-dissolved Redevelopment Agency.  While the City will work endlessly to keep the Northside Library as part of its library system, it is unknown at this time what the future holds regarding a final determination involving this litigation.