Mitchell Park Library keeps teen and green in mind

Will Zhou, Author

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People will have plenty of room to experience the Mitchell Park Library’s new features thanks to the building’s massive size. According to the library website, the facility will be approximately four times larger than its predecessor, with a collection nearly twice its previous size. Its children’s area alone is nearly as large as the Children’s Library on Harriet Street.  http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/gov/depts/csd/my_mitchell.asp Photo by William Zhou.

People will have plenty of room to experience the Mitchell Park Library’s new features thanks to the building’s massive size. According to the library website, the facility will be approximately four times larger than its predecessor, with a collection nearly twice its previous size. Its children’s area alone is nearly as large as the Children’s Library on Harriet Street. Photo by William Zhou.

After almost three years of delay filled with construction and legal problems, the Mitchell Park Library is slated to open this November on Middlefield Road and will feature a variety of teen spaces and environmentally friendly features.

Kevin Zittle of Palo Alto Recreation told The Paly Voice, “We want you to come to this building and enjoy it as a community space and library for education, as well as a way to keep green on people’s minds.”

The two-story building will have many spaces that people can enjoy.

“The library will feature a 56,000-square-foot facility that include[s] flexible library spaces [with a] separate teen room, computer room, quiet reading rooms, game rooms, basketball area, Ada’s Cafe and many other amenities,” Palo Alto City Manager James Keene said in a May press release.

According to the City of Palo Alto, the library set out to become a sustainable joint-use facility that will be a vibrant destination for civic, cultural, social, educational and recreational activities and will replace undersized and aged facilities.  Photo by William Zhou.

According to the City of Palo Alto, the library set out to become a sustainable joint-use facility that will be a vibrant destination for civic, cultural, social, educational and recreational activities and will replace undersized and aged facilities. Photo by William Zhou.

Teen Use:
The library will offer many places for teens to both socialize and study.

The game room, designed for teens, will provide teens with a place to relax and escape from the pressure of school.

“The game room was designed specifically for teens and will be used almost exclusively by teens” Lacee Kortsen, a City of Palo Alto Community Services Manager said. “It will have a foosball, ping-pong, pool and air hockey table; large flat screen TV and lounge area for gaming (Xbox, PlayStation, etc.).”

The teen space will also have a food area and other facilities, according to Korsten.

“There will be a teen-run snack bar; a stage with multiple lighting and sound options; multiple lounge areas to hang out; and an outdoor, half-court basketball court connected to the center,” Korsten said.

Besides being a place to socialize, the new library will allow teens to study.

According to Garcia, there will be a teen zone that will have a technology bar, computers, study spaces and lounging area. The study space will have computers, Smart Board and projector for project needs. Teens can also browse popular media and fiction collections.

The library will even provide special accommodations during finals week.

“We plan to provide ‘study hall’ space and after-hours time for students during that [finals] week,” Garcia said. “In addition, we will be providing some wellness classes for teens and ending with a special after-finals party.”

Teens looking to get involved in the community can also use the library as a platform to find opportunities, according to Garcia.

“The library will provide new teen programs and services, including a Teen Advisory Board, a Homework Center for K-5 led by teen volunteers and continue to support our makeX teen mobile makerspace, currently at Cubberley Community Center and plenty of volunteer opportunities” Garcia said.

Sophomore Candace Wang is looking forward to the many features of the library.

“I love the game room and the cafe,” Wang said. “It’s great how they’re trying to associate other things to libraries. This definitely makes the library a more popular place to hang out and relax and study.”

According to Zittle, The Mitchell Park Library will have multiple outdoor patio areas and large windows. The library will also have three green roofs and 6,000 square feet of solar panels. Photos by William Zhou.

According to Zittle, The Mitchell Park Library will have multiple outdoor patio areas and large windows. The library will also have three green roofs and 6,000 square feet of solar panels. Photo by William Zhou.

Green Features:
The library also highlights Palo Alto’s effort to be environmentally friendly through its multiple green features.

According the the City of Palo Alto website, the library is being built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards and is expected to be rated as LEED Platinum, the highest rating possible.

In order to be certified LEED Platinum, the city constructed the library with its environmental footprint in mind.

The website continues by saying, “during construction, a minimum of 75 percent of construction waste generated was either recycled or reused; a minimum of 20 percent of materials used were recycled items.”

After unsatisfactory performance from its original contractors, the city has hired construction company, Big D Pacific to finish the build.

“We are encouraged by the amount of work Big D has corrected already, and everybody is focused on completing the project with quality work and having it open to the public,” Assistant Public Works Director Brad Eggleston said.

One of the many new environmentally friendly features are the green roofs.

“The most visible features are the green roofs,” Zittle said. “They’re not only beautiful, but they also absorb the sunlight and decrease the heat given off by the building.”

The library is built to emphasize the connection between people and nature, according to Zittle.

“Ninety percent of the spaces in the library have a window to the outside,” Zittle said. “There’s the green wall outside the entrance and there are two patios where you can sit out next to the green roofs. The green features are very much a part of the building.”

The green features will not only provide people with lovely environments, but they will also help the city save resources.

“The library will save close to 50 percent, and 30 percent reduction in water use [due to its green features]” Zittle said.

Although it still is not open yet, the Mitchell Park Library has already excited Palo Altans.

“I think it is going to be a really great place for people to work and just spend some time with friends,” freshman Tanay Krishna said.

According to Keene, the library will be a place that the entire community can enjoy.

“The new Mitchell Park Library and Community Center will undoubtedly be a community jewel that will bring together multi-generations of Palo Altans for many years to come,” Keene said.

The first event at the new library will be the Grand Opening scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Afterwards five weeks of events targeted at different audiences will follow, according to Garcia.

“There will be lots of activities and performances around the celebration of our opening,” City of Palo Alto representative RuthAnn Garcia told The Paly Voice.

The library will be open until 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, until 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 5 p.m. on Sundays.