Friday, July 19, 2013

With Some Of The Most Outdated Libraries In The State, Hayward May Look To Voters To Fund $50M Project

Mockup of the proposed 58,000 sq. ft.
Downtown Hayward library.
HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL | Hayward’s public libraries are some of the most outdated in the entire state, according to a staff report this week, and the City Council believes residents are willing to pay out of pocket next year for a new main library.

The estimated cost building a new three-floor 58,000 sq. ft. downtown library is $50.8 million, according to a presentation given Tuesday to the Hayward City Council. However, the only identifiable funds for the project currently are a $10 million gift from Calpine in 2011. The energy producer is building a natural gas-fired plant on the Hayward Shoreline. The city, though, wants to be prepared when and if additional funds become available.

“Pending the day we find funding for this we are more ready to build the building," said City Manager Fran David. "But, in the meantime, we want to proceed forward and make sure the project does not lag behind just because we can’t find the funding at the moment.”

The project dubbed the “21st Century Library and Community Learning Center” would feature literacy training, after school programs, tutoring and multimedia rooms, said Sean Reinhart, Hayward’s director of library and community services. A digitally-equipped conference holding up to 200 people is also included in the project, along with several smaller meeting rooms. The building would also come equipped with 18,000 sq. ft of rooftop solar panels, which could eventually attain zero net energy output, meaning it produces enough energy to power the entire building at no cost.

Hayward’s libraries already rank as some of the smallest not only in the Bay Area, but the entire state, said Reinhart. The average Bay Area public library has a square feet per capita in the range of .75 sq. ft. Hayward’s is just .25 sq. ft. of library for every resident. Despite the need and the current condition of the school district, nearly every city leader realizes Hayward’s slowly recovering economy does not have the cash to fund the remaining $40 million needed to fund the library project.

“It’s going to cost $50 million and we’ve got 10,” said Councilmember Al Mendall. “I don’t see a source of money that we’re going to stumble upon in the next couple of years. The city is not flush with cash.” Mendall said he once had reservations whether the city should invest in a single, large-scale library or several smaller venues, but Tuesday’s report helped him come to the conclusion both are needed. “We’re so behind and so under served in terms of libraries that in the long term,” he said, “we’re probably talking about a couple of decades here, we should strive to do both.”

Mendall, like nearly every council member Tuesday night, advocated for placing a potential tax measure on the 2014 ballot. “I will do everything in my power for this to get built,” added Councilmember Francisco Zermeno, who has already officially declared his intention to run for mayor next year. In recent years, Hayward voters have twice easily approved tax measures for its under performing schools.

Councilmember Mark Salinas, however, went a step further, not only advocating for a potential tax measure voters to fund the new library, but floating the possibility of expanding its scope to include new buildings for the Hayward Police and Fire Departments. He added, the potential new library should be bigger and thereby send a message to the region Hayward, with a university, community college and numerous other types of educational campuses, is a hub of learning in the Bay Area. A grand new library could also offset the loss of Cal State East Bay’s iconic Warren Hall, slated to be torn down next month, said Salinas. “This library could send a very powerful message throughout the region that is a educational city.”


  1. Now if only these councilmen would support programs that spur economic development, jobs and related long term tax revenue. Bond measure may have a chance but only going to the taxpayers each time for such approvals does not bring about the sort of economic revival desperately needed in Hayward. Other cites are doing it, Hayward is just more talk and political posturing. What is Salinas looking for $150 million bond. After Detroit who would invest in risky municipal bonds.

  2. Yes...of ALL the things to stick it to the tax payers, Hayward council things the best thing to waste tax payer dollars on is a library. Talk about morons.

    I agree with the person above, Hayward would rather invest other peoples money in a non-profit building that serves a small portion of it's residents.

    Now, lets see which Friend of The Council gets the right to profit off building this building...I say Zaballos and Sons!

    Wouldn't it be cheaper to just buy every resident a Kindle Fire and call it a day?

  3. Salinas. Where would the money come from to build police station, fire and library? He can get the easy money by getting city grants for his nonprofit. The professor talks a good game but like so many politicians has no substance.

  4. This is how cities become bankrupt and why voters detest politicians. The City of Hayward City Council accepted a $10M bribe to approve Russell City. The same corrupt politicians now want to use that as the down payment on an additional $40M in taxes and bonds that will stretch into the twenty second century. It is time to cancel the term for those who were in office that accepted the bribe from Russell City and it is time all of us to insist that the money is spent on the existing library. Has anyone asked what we can do with Ten Million Dollars. I think a lot.

  5. How greedy is Salinas? Ill admit the library sounds ok. $40 mil doable for a bond, but police and fire so he can kiss up for campaign donations.Have another pancake mark!

  6. Salinas is an arrogant pig and is trying to kiss labor ass.

  7. A library is the books and content, not the building. The square feet would go up if Hayward added a couple more mini libraries by improving some current building. This is easily doable with $10 million and they could also spruce up the current libraries. It is not necessary to build everything new and spend a zillion dollars. Sheesh. Look at the money Hayward wasted on new city halls. Many residents in Hayward walk or use bicycles and having more libraries in more locations would give Hayward easier access to the services offered. Who knows, reading might actually go up. Hayward needs so much. Better to use that money to improve the school system or to reduce crime.

  8. Ratio of space per population in an interesting statistic, but has a true needs assessment been completed which asks Hayward residents (not just those within the Friends of Library community) and businesses if such a facility is a high priority. Would it be used, by whom? Particularly given all the other options available to read, conduct research and so forth. Suspect that physical use in cities with large libraries has decreased over the past few years.

  9. What is this nonsense? “This library could send a very powerful message throughout the region that Hayward is a educational city.” What does it mean, more rhetoric (BS). Does having Cal State, Chabot and any number of special schools make it an educational city. Maybe having Salinas and Zermeno, 2 college professors (ha)and Sweeney (teacher)on the council make us an educational city?

  10. An educational city with its school district failing the students? So I guess people should only move here when they have finished the k-12 system some place else. We should just make sure the library is designed to meet the needs of the adult population that will come in droves to our educational city.

  11. I thank East Bay Citizen for this article, and I thank all the commenters for expressing their support and concerns regarding the 21st Century Library for Hayward. Hearing the concerns and feedback of Hayward residents is the most important aspect of any project like this -- we want to hear from you! For those readers who are interested in learning more about the project, please see the FAQ on our website: www.bit.ly/NEW_LIBRARY
    There you will find a brief overview as well as links to over 700 pages of supporting analysis and background documentation. You will also find a "Contact the Library Director" on our website where you can reach me directly -- I welcome your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions.
    Sean Reinhart
    Director of Library and Community Services
    City of Hayward

  12. Sean

    Research appears to be boiler plate stuff with conclusions not unique to Hayward beyond typical ratios. More suited for a decades old antalysis rather than one which acknowledges new technologies and more economical alternatives to massive buildings and infrastructure. The proposed site could benefit from development, and the proposed design appears aesthetically pleasing, but a new library may not be the best use of documented limited city resources (bond measures or otherwise) at this time. Good political sound bites though.

  13. One word....STOCKTON, California. It went broke trying to please a few who wanted to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. A new arena, semi-pro ball park, cultural arts center, and numerous public parking structures, all built in an effort to "revitalize" an old town and all built with municipal bonds that now can't be paid. All are now part of bankruptcy proceedings. Yes, there is also the University of Pacific, Delta Community College, and Cal State University, Stanislaus. All fine educational institutions, all cutting classes to make ends meet. So, while the city infrastructure crumbles and the city operates with less police and fire resources the answere to all these problems from the local politicians is to again try and raise taxes. Clueless, but what the hell they know best. So when Hayward's elite present their proposal to sell municipal bonds or raise your taxes remember that one word....STOCKTON.

  14. 7/24 @8:31am
    Well put; but then the politicos in Hayward will do what they want and when it all comes crashing down they will once again go unscathed.

  15. Question. Is the library turning away people because they don't have room? When you say "outdated" what do you mean? Are the reading materials too old that it is not functional? I say learn from the lessons of the US Postal Service. People no longer have a need to pay bills or correspond via written documents sent by our postal system due to computer technology and that reality has financially affected the mail delivery system. Hasn't library use been affected by computer technology? I happen to believe that the need for a "state of the art library" has more to do with library staff wanting an upgrade and city council wanting something nice and shiny to take credit for than to fill a crucial and unmet need in the community.

  16. July 25

    Excellent questions. What is the justification for a new $40 million bond issue for library and another $70 to $90 million for police and fire departments? School district has taken on enormous debt over the last few years and now the city wants to take on even more.

    Is it legacy time already for Salinas after more than 2 years of doing absolutely nothing?

  17. By MW:

    Cities, and including Hayward, need to stop be willing to wildly spend on every idea that somebody cooks up. For instance the particular town in Alameda County that my wife and I live in has a nice library, and in fact it is less than five minutes from our home.

    However my wife is so fond of the present Hayward main library, that therefore at least hundreds of times over the years, in other words up to a few times a month, she has spent the twenty minutes or so driving time each way, in other words about forty minutes roundtrip, going to the main library in downtown Hayward, since, and although she likes our local library a lot, she likes the Hayward library even a lot more.

    But Hayward wants to spend at least fifty million dollars to build a new library. And speaking as someone who loves libraries, in fact there have been countless occasions that I have gone to the library virtually every day of the week, and frequently for a few hours early in the day, then gone home for a little while, and then often gone back for up to a few additional hours later in the day, I still cannot see spending money we do not have and cannot afford.

    Still furthermore, does anybody really believe a new library will be built, and properly, for only approx. fifty million dollars. In other words, large projects that have major government involvement almost always go way over budget. So if the politicians and their "experts" tell us that it will cost ONLY 50M, then even "ONLY" 100M would be an extremely conservative estimate as to what it will almost certainly end up actually costing.

  18. The City of Hayward and its residents, maybe more than other East Bay communities, need the services of a free public library. With that said, Reinhart and sidekick Fran David are not the folks to lead the City and its library through the difficult process of building a new library.