The College Terrace branch of the Palo Alto library system re-opened Saturday afternoon, following a year-long, $4 million renovation.
With the snip of a ribbon, Palo Alto Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa welcomed a crowd of about 100 adults and children to view the newly renovated facility, located on Wellesley Street in the College Terrace neighborhood.
"Libraries these days are not just places to check out books. ... They're places for neighbors to get to know each other," Espinosa said. "In our crazy lives, when we're online and we're not meeting as many people as we sometime used to in public forums, libraries still serve as that gathering place."
City Manager James Keene and retiring Library Director Diane Jennings also addressed the crowd.
The re-opening of the library, built in 1936, was almost delayed until next summer due to proposed budget cuts. But after residents spoke to the City Council Finance Committee in May, it recommended to forgo the $74,000 in savings and open the library branch on schedule.
The remodeling job included seismic upgrades; new electrical, heating, air conditioning and lighting systems; a new roof; and changes to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The interior has remained much the same, except for wider aisles and some new access points for ADA compliance.
The adjacent Mayfield Park was also re-landscaped as part of the project.
Saturday's event was hosted by the City, the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, Palo Alto Library Foundation and College Terrace Residents' Association.