Rebuilt main library is set to open in August

Officials opened the doors to San Mateo’s new Main Library on Wednesday, still under construction, offering the press a sneak peek at the long-awaited facility.

The three-story, $65 million building is set to open Aug. 27. The new building at 55 W. Third Ave. is a far cry from the old concrete structure. It now boasts nearly three times as much space and special areas for children, teens, biotechnology and periodicals.

Estimated operating costs for the new building are $5.5 million to $5.6 million in the upcoming fiscal year, according to City Librarian Ben Ocon.

But Ocon expects that the building’s energy-saving design will cut utility costs significantly. The library maximizes daylight with several windows and has earned LEED certification, indicating the use of “green” building techniques and materials and energy efficiency.

Ocon said he wants the new library to feel more like a café.

“Imagine grabbing a latte and sitting outside with the book of your choice on one of the outside terraces,” he said.

Funding for the new library comes from a $35 million bond passed overwhelmingly in 1999, a capital campaign aiming to raise at least $10 million from private sources and $20 million in grant funding from a state library bond.

The library plans to partner with local schools to provide books tailored especially for their curriculum.

tramroop@examiner.com

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