After years of effort, it is finally here. And boy, was it worth the wait.
I’m excited to announce that the Grand Opening celebration of the new Pleasant Hill Library will take place 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday, July 30. Mark your calendars, because my fellow City Council members and I can’t wait to welcome you to our wonderful new state-of-the-art library.
A new library has been a dream of mine since I first ran for City Council 20 years ago. My 2002 campaign flier read: “Pleasant Hill deserves a modern, state-of-the-art library facility that not only meets our current needs but will meet our future needs as well. I am committed to getting a new library for our community.”
Now in my fifth term as mayor, that dream is coming true.
This project has been a collaborative effort from the beginning. Most of the funding for this new library has come through the Pleasant Hill voter-approved Measure K half-cent sales tax. And we thank you for your support.
Contra Costa County donated the five acres at 2 Monticello Avenue to build the library. Additionally, we continue to receive help from the Friends of the Library, the Pleasant Hill Library Foundation, and the Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District. The project would not have been successful without donations from so many members of our Pleasant Hill community.
In 2017, the City Council began turning the wheels on this project when we hired the world-renowned architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson to design the building. Margaret Sullivan Studio also played an integral role in the design.
The final design was completed after significant public input. Next, the City Council approved the project and construction began.
In September 2020, the City Council put shovels to dirt in an official groundbreaking. Now, after years of amazing effort, we are finally opening the doors to you, our community. Our city staff have done a fantastic job bringing this zero-energy, carbon-neutral, green project online (and within budget) despite the pandemic and supply chain issues.
I’m grateful to all our council members and especially to my fellow Library Committee member Sue Noack, whose foresight and insights contributed mightily to this project. And, of course, to the public who provided input and support during this process. We couldn’t have done it without you.
The Grand Opening features a ribbon-cutting as the doors are thrown open to visitors, who’ll be admitted in waves. But not to worry, there will be plenty to do outside the library as well. We’ll have refreshments, crafts, creek tours, music, storytime and more.
Inside, you’ll have time to tour this wonderful building and delight in all it has to offer. In addition to 60,000 new books on the shelves, the library includes many thoughtful amenities: an early learning center for our young ones, a makerspace for hands-on learning, an activity yard with a play wall and giant log sculpture, tech areas, a beautiful garden, study rooms and quiet spaces for contemplation. It also features family-friendly areas like the Nelis Nook, named in memory of our beloved Public Information Officer Martin Nelis, who died several years ago.
The building is light, airy and welcoming, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with you. While the Grand Opening only runs until noon, you won’t have to leave when it’s over. The library will be open until 5 p.m., with activities and programs scheduled throughout the day.
It’s an extremely exciting time for us. Please join us on July 30 as we throw open the doors to this wonderful new Pleasant Hill destination.
I want to end this article with two of my favorite quotes that certainly apply to our new library:
“The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein.
“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” – Walter Cronkite.
Email questions and comments for Mayor Harris to firstname.lastname@example.org