Best 'New' Library Branch - 2009
Of the 24 San Francisco libraries slated for construction, replacement, or renovation by a bond measure passed by voters in November 2000, nine are already doing business and another half a dozen are expected to open this year. The Marina branch, which reopened in 2007 after a two-year, $3.9 million upgrade, is an especially attractive deployment of taxpayer dollars. The positively Eichler-esque building, constructed in 1954, is all beams, brick, and glass, allowing for plenty of natural sunlight and an airy, expansive ambience. The new shelving can be moved aside for regular events like the daily storytimes held in the colorful children's section. There are comfy armchairs looking out on Chestnut Street, Wi-Fi and 16 public computers with Internet access, and a lovely new courtyard with benches and drought-resistant native plants. (The library also employs recycled bricks and flooring, energy-efficient lighting, and plenty of wall and window insulation.) The staff is fluent in French, Spanish, Mandarin, and English; the selection of CDs, DVDs, and magazines is impressive ... and did we mention all those books?