Around Town | March 7, 2014 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 7, 2014

Around Town

NAME THAT LIBRARY ... Palo Alto's effort to renovate and expand its Main Library is proceeding apace. But the same cannot be said for a parallel effort to rename the Newell Road facility. The proposal to give the library a new name has been bouncing back and forth between the City Council and local boards since August 2012, when the Library Advisory Commission first took up the topic. The feeling was that the building's current name is both vague and confusing, given that it's neither the largest branch (that title goes to the Mitchell Park Library, which is undergoing its own reconstruction) nor the department's administrative center (that honor belongs to the Downtown Library). And unlike College Terrace and the Downtown branches, the Main Library's name makes no reference to the building's location — which is why the library commission has settled on "Rinconada Library" as the new name, a decision it reconfirmed last month. The name, which comes from Spanish for "elbow" or "inside corner," would link the building with the adjacent Rinconada Park. The council hasn't been too crazy about the idea in the past, with some members liking it and others urging the commission to consider naming it after a famous Palo Altan. A final decision was set to be made this week, but after a marathon discussion of development-impact fees, council members kicked the discussion forward to a future meeting, possibly later this month. Meanwhile, several community members, past and present, have been chiming in. Diane Jennings, former library director, added her voice to naming the building Rinconada Library, which she said will "keep the pattern of using location names for all facilities, with the exception, of course, of the very special Children's Library." Local architect John Northway had a different take and recommended naming the branch The Birge Clark Library, after the architect who launched his local practice in 1922 and whose many Spanish Revival projects around town include the iconic downtown Post Office. (For the record: The Main Library was designed by Edward Durell Stone.)

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