Abe Jayson shows Branciforte plans to Congressman Jimmy Panetta.
Abe Jayson shows Branciforte plans to Congressman Jimmy Panetta.

(Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries)
Promoted content

Redesigned library buildings connect & inspire: SCPL’s 10 branch system transforms

Libraries need Friends. They also need space. Not any old space. They need inviting, flexible, supportive spaces that are well equipped and resourced to meet unique local needs and expectations.

Julia Morgan, the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California and known for her design of Hearst Castle, once said, “Whatever good things we build end up building us.” Morgan’s observation is timeless. Santa Cruz’s public library buildings, however, are not timeless. These buildings require new designs to meet the needs of an evolving community in an ever-changing cultural, informational, and digital landscape.

Passed by voters in 2016, Measure S has helped transform nine of our 10 Santa Cruz Public Libraries’ branches, with the help of additional funds raised by their communities. Capitola, La Selva Beach, and Felton are now vibrant buildings with beautiful and functional interiors designed for learning, exploring, and connecting with others (digitally and in-person!).

Six of our system’s branch upgrades are underway now: Aptos, Boulder Creek, Branciforte, Garfield Park, Live Oak, and Scotts Valley. The final upgrade will be the Downtown Library, with exciting plans in the works beginning in 2022.

The same Measure S funds are currently supporting much needed renovations at the Branciforte and Garfield Park branches. Both are set to reopen in 2022.

“One of the most impactful changes was made based on a desire expressed by the community for gathering space. An underutilized staff storage room was converted into a community meeting room that can be used after hours for events when the rest of the library is closed. By carefully making thoughtful changes, the renovation of the Branciforte branch will transform the building from a well loved but dark dated library into an open and flexible library to serve this and future generations.”

— Abe Jayson, UCSC graduate and Lead Architect on Branciforte & Garfield Park renovations

Working with the community, it was immediately clear that the rich history of the original Garfield Park Carnegie Library should be honored. The revitalized branch design captures the spirit of this era of grand library construction by opening up the space and moving all the book collections to the perimeter, located in warm walnut shelving. The classic axial symmetry is reinforced by separating the open single room library into two spaces, one for adults and one for children. The design honors history with an eye to the future.

— Abe Jayson, UCSC graduate and Lead Architect on Branciforte & Garfield Park renovations

The future of Garfield Park’s interior space.
(Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries)

One of SCPL’s busiest branches, Aptos, has suspended services to prepare for the construction of an expanded new library building and the inclusion of the Aptos History Museum. This space incorporates artifacts from the museum in the design and collections in response to input from Aptos residents. After all, the public library system is for the community!

It was clear from the Aptos community that the new library building wasn’t only about updated library services, but about renewing a meaningful space for civic engagement. A space where education, art, history, and culture can interact in both planned and surprising ways, and where personal growth and community connections can be equally nurtured. In that sense, the library is conceived not simply as a building, but as a sustainable and enduring experience in which indoor and outdoor spaces flow into each other, technology enhances but doesn’t replace human connections, and the architecture welcomes all people to make the library their own.

— Mark Schoeman, AIA, Design Principal, and Angshupriya Pathak, AIA, Associate of Anderson Brulé Architects

The future of Aptos branch’s interior showcasing flexible space.
(Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries)

Community rooms are popular and well-loved at all branches, and new ones are under construction now. Rooms can be reserved for any number of activities, and there’s fast wifi to support digital projects.

“We appreciate the room for our writing group. While reading, we are bonding as a community.” - Arlene, SCPL Branch user

“It’s a beautiful, inviting, warm, cozy, truly community space--inspiring readers and learners of all ages!” - SCPL Branch user

“Musing & Memoirs From Hilarious Women” make use of a downtown branch community room.
(Santa Cruz Public Libraries)

The Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries are rallying to raise $1 million to help create new library spaces for children, teens, community programs, adult services, exhibits, collaborative study areas, and learning activities required to attain the community’s vision. These funds will bridge the gap between Measure S funds and the actual construction costs of building/renovating Aptos, Branciforte, and Garfield Park, which have increased significantly since 2016.

Take a look at what The Friends have accomplished so far and help them reach their goal by making a donation today. They are currently at 90%!

Support the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries
  • donate
    Realizing the Promise
    Help bridge the gap between Measure S funds and the transformative vision for the future of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries and their potential for all our community.