Technology improvements planned for historic South San Francisco library building 

click to enlarge The historic Andrew Carnegie building, which is home to the Grand Avenue Branch Library, is set for several upgrades. Community input on the changes is being sought. - COURTESY SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO
  • Courtesy South San Francisco
  • The historic Andrew Carnegie building, which is home to the Grand Avenue Branch Library, is set for several upgrades. Community input on the changes is being sought.

A nearly century-old library building in South San Francisco is planned to undergo renovations to improve its accessibility and update its technology.

A variety of upgrades have been proposed for the Grand Avenue Branch Library at the historic Andrew Carnegie building, built in 1917, with funding from the city and San Mateo County's Measure A. The city is also currently seeking feedback from community members on what changes they would like to see in the building.

Assistant Library Director Cheryl Grantano-Rich was part of a street team that recently solicited input from residents, approaching people as they left church and other places near the library branch.

"By way of technology, there is interest in so many directions -- a maker's space, digital lab," she said. "We are now listening to the public, having them help us prioritize all the wants."

South San Francisco officials hope to redesign and remodel the 8,000-square foot main floor to improve the public infrastructure and interior space, as well as to update the technology available to residents. Due to increased programming available at the library, some groups have been forced to time-manage the existing limited space, and Grantano-Rich hopes that through the renovations, the facility will be able to provide more room for the groups and classes that want to meet.

"We know that more computers and better Wi-Fi connection are some wants, as well as program space," she said. "This summer we had a summer camp and lunch program, and it was very hard to make space for all the kids participating. We have an English conversation class that really has no good space to meet, so the group remains small."

City officials also plan to seek donations toward new furnishings and equipment.

The project is moving quickly, said Grantano-Rich, though planners are still in the information gathering stage. Once library representatives have gathered additional feedback, they'll pass the information on to the architects charged with the renovations. From there, they will present two possible plans to the public at meetings.

Measure A, a half-cent, 10-year sales-tax increase in San Mateo County, was approved in November 2012. The collected funds are used for public services throughout the county.

Grantano-Rich said library officials hope to have the building completed and reopened by June. Public meetings will be held throughout October, and people can also submit feedback and ideas online at: surveymonkey.com/s/visionssfgrandavelibrary.

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Emilie Mutert

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