Author Michael Lewis, Mayor Tom Bates and State Senator Loni Hancock were among the generous group of Berkeley residents who came out last weekend Nov 13 in support the Berkeley Neighborhood Libraries Campaign.

Fred & I were delighted to host the reception.  Linda Schacht Gage, chair of the capital campaign, updated people on the status of the four branch libraries and fundraising efforts.  Although voters passed Measure FF in 2008 to rebuild the branch libraries,  interior finishes and features were not included, such as desks, counters, chairs, bookshelves, computers, lighting etc.  So The Berkeley Public Library Foundation  has stepped in…


The campaign intends to raise $3.5M by the end of next year to furnish and equip the four branch libraries.  According to Berkeley Public Library Foundation President, Elisabeth Watson, $1.8M has been raised so far.  The BPLF’s 10th Annual Authors Dinner is coming up FEB 11, 2011 510.981.6115.  This event single event has raised nearly $1M for Berkeley’s Public Libraries.

Two of the four library branches have been closed almost a year for extensive renovation.  Fortunately, the Claremont branch will reopen February 2012 and North Berkeley branch May 2012. As these two branches reopen, the West and South library branches will close. Those two sub-standard buildings are slated to be demolished and rebuilt up to current seismic and building code requirements. In fact, the new West Branch will be the first net zero energy library in the state.  BPLF and others in the community are committed to providing quality library services to all Berkeley residents in every neighborhood.

(from left) Marc Bensadoun, Mayor Tom Bates, John Gage, State Senator Loni Hancock

Marc and Christina Bensadoun with Gabriella









The West Branch is the home of an inspiring program called Berkeley Reads.  This is a literacy program in which volunteers help teach almost 200 adults a year to read and write. As funds are cut locally and state-wide, the libraries have become an even more essential hub for community services. Each branch will hold a celebration for neighbors and library lovers when it reopens. 

(From left) Janet White, Michael Lewis, Mary O'Neill and (front) Claudine Torfs

(from left) Chris Reynolds, Nicole Wrubel, author Arthur Blaustein, Fred Nachtwey and Mayor Tom Bates









“Books that help you the most are those that make you think the most…” – T. Parker

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