Bexar Witness Staff The San Antonio Public Library system is experiencing growth and, with it, new construction. District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick was joined by City Manager Sheryl Sculley, officials from SAPL, the city Departments for Culture and Creative Development, and Transportation and Capital Improvements on July 2 to mark the start of construction on a new District 2 library. The new facility will serve residents in the far east side of San Antonio and will be named after land donors, the Sam Schaefer family.
“Empowering today’s young people means putting resources in front of them,” said Warrick in a press release. “The new Schaefer Branch Library will create opportunities for discussions, generate powerful ideas and foster a greater vision for District 2.” The project will build a new 11,600-square-foot library. Print and electronic books will be available, along with a public computing lab, free WiFi and laptops available for check out. Professional librarians will provide reference and research assistance and programming for children, teenagers and adults will be available. “Libraries are community hubs with over 5 million annual visits last year alone,” said Sculley in the release. “They provide free, accessible and safe environments for our children and families while encouraging creativity and knowledge. Libraries provide educational enrichment for all visitors through their print and digital collections, as well as through their programming.” The Schaefer Branch Library will feature communal learning spaces, individual study spaces and lounge areas. The building will house a large community meeting room for civic activities. The project will also include a public art piece designed by local artist Cakky Brawley. The entire project is funded with $6 million from the voter-approved 2012-2017 bond program. An additional $100,000 is funding the public art component. “It is the San Antonio Public Library’s goal to provide access to information and resources to build the community’s prosperity, to respond to community challenges and to serve as a welcoming community gathering place,” said Ramiro Salazar, SAPL director, in the release. “We had a number of successful input meetings to gather the community’s thoughts on the design and functionality of this new library, and we look forward to seeing these ideas come to life.” The new library was designed by LPA Inc., and is being constructed by Davila Construction. Construction should be complete in the fall of 2016.
On the city’s South Side, Collins Gardens Library closed June 22 for major improvements. These upgrades will better serve the community and include: transforming the front of the building and activating the entry plaza with a modern building façade and seating, renovating the existing restrooms and addressing ADA accessibility; expanding the structure’s front by 800 square feet to add additional service space; installing new carpet and painting the walls to refresh the interior; improving the exterior sidewalk; improving computer access by adding additional computers; creating designated spaces for children and teens, creating a new flex room for meetings; installing a new service desk to provide easier access for staff to assist patrons; and re-locating the council field office for District 5 into the library.
It is anticipated that the branch will reopen this December. San Antonio Public Library’s Extreme Library Makeover Initiative began in 2013, with five branch locations undergoing renovations- Brook Hollow, Forest Hills, Guerra, Johnston and Thousand Oaks. The purpose of the makeovers is to refresh and enhance the library buildings, inside and out, in order to continue providing comfortable and welcoming atmospheres for library patrons. The Carver Library, Tobin Library at Oakwell and Cortez Branch Library also received Extreme Library Makeovers in 2014. Throughout the closure, resource and media holds may be picked up at Pan American Branch Library, 1122 W. Pyron Ave. The book drop will not be available during closure, but materials may be returned to any SAPL location. Renewals may be made online at the library’s website, www.mysapl.org. Patrons are invited to visit nearby branch locations- Pan American Branch Library, Las Palmas Branch Library, 515 Castroville Road, or Bazan Branch Library, 2200 W. Commerce St.