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March 13, 2007 > New library in the works for Milpitas

New library in the works for Milpitas

By Charlotte Flowers-Weston

No more overcrowded bookshelves and cramped study spaces. The Milpitas Library in Santa Clara County is getting a brand new facility.

According to Community Librarian Linda Arbaugh, usage of the current facility has skyrocketed over the years to nearly 60,000 customers annually. "We get an average of about 2,000 visitors a day." Customers check-out 165,000 items each month, reducing available space for computers and people. "We have had to take out tables and chairs in different sections of this library in order to install more shelves to stock more books, tapes, and CD's", said Arbaugh.

She and staff have crowded over 150,000 books, CDs and tapes into a mere 19,500 square feet in a building next to City Hall. The new library going in at 160 North Main Street will have nearly three times the space with over 310,000 items. It will be 60,000 square feet in a two-story building with a connecting garage. Estimated cost of the project is $39 million, part of the Midtown redevelopment of Main Street and Abel Street.

Designed by Group 4 Architect and Planners, the building is a combination of contemporary architecture, contrasting and preserving the existing historic Milpitas Grammar School building. This neo-classical building, constructed in 1918, has previously served as a grammar school, city hall, library, community center, and senior center. Construction has already begun on the new parking facility that will serve Midtown and the library. There will be three parking levels that will provide approximately 300 spaces. "The garage is expected to be completed by this August," said Arbaugh. She adds, "The new library is expected to be complete by 2008."

The new library will include, meeting rooms, study areas and quiet rooms. There will also be a youth section with computers and a wider selection of books, tapes, DVDs, and CDs and activities for the youth. A separate children's section will also have computers and educational tools, including books and tapes, along with weekly story times. With an estimated 114 public access computers in the new library, Arbaugh says she expects that more people will be visiting the library. "We also hope to offer a computer training class in the new facility."

The new facility will also feature eight, self-service check-out scanners, double the current number. Arbaugh says customers like the self-service check-out. The new library takes this a step further with new check-in machines. "There will be four new check-in machines in the new library", she said.

Milpitas Library is a part of the nationally recognized Santa Clara County Library system with six other locations in Campell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Morgan Hill, and Saratoga. The library provides free access to informational, educational, and recreational materials and services to children, teens, and adults. Children's services include librarians who offer guidance and assistance to children in choosing materials that meet their individual needs. "We want our children to have a good reading and learning experience here", said Arbaugh.

The existing library offers a variety of events to the public including story time for children and adults. They often feature music guests and other artists as well.

On March 17 at 4 p.m. in the Community Room, internationally renowned guitarist Christopher Dean will perform a free concert. Dean's forte is Celtic music and storytelling in the Celtic bard tradition

This program is made possible by Friends of Milpitas Library, a group of men and women who volunteer their time helping the library with different events. "We are excited about the FOML, because they do so many wonderful things for the library," Arbaugh notes.

Friends of Milpitas Library will also hold a book sale, June 1-3 at the current library.

After the new library opens, the existing building will be renovated to serve as the city's new Senior Center. "This will be great for the seniors, as they well deserve it", said Arbaugh.

Milpitas Library
40 North Milpitas Blvd.
(408) 262-1171

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