Photograph by Jeanne Storck

Photograph by Jeanne Storck

The View interviewed branch manager Lia Hillman and artist Gina Telcocci, creator of the building’s new public art piece, to hear their thoughts about the new library. Visit the View's Video Gallery to see the video.

March 2010

Renovated Potrero Library Re-Opens

By Michael Condiff

Scenic views of the City skyline and a 33 percent increase in space will greet visitors at the fully renovated Potrero Branch.  Mayor Gavin Newsom, City Librarian Luis Herrera, State Senator Mark Leno, District 10 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, Department of Public Works Director Ed Reiskin and other City and state officials are expected to be on hand when the doors open at 2 p.m. on March 6.  Located on 20th Street, near Connecticut, the library has been closed for a $5.4 million renovation since 2008.

“This branch offers a remarkable skyline view of San Francisco that patrons can enjoy, but also offers much to enjoy inside the building, including a wonderful children’s area and new teen area,” said Herrera. “With new technology, additional computers and an expanded collection of material, we (could) hardly wait to reopen the doors to this spectacular branch.”

The renovation included seismic retrofitting, accessibility improvements for the disabled and elderly; and an elevator and additional staircase to access a new program room, which can accommodate library classes, events and after-hours activities.   A brightly lit children’s area with an interactive play-to-learn wall and a new designated teen area were created.  A centerpiece of the library is a new sculpture, entitled “Here and Past Here,” suspended above the main staircase. The abstract sculpture, by artist Gina Telcocci, references Potrero Hill’s unique natural and cultural history.  The renovation was designed by the Library Design Studio, Bureau of Architecture in the San Francisco Department of Public Works.

Potrero is the 14th library project to be completed under the Branch Library Improvement Program, which is funded by a $105.9 million bond measure passed in November 2000. The program is supporting the renovation of 16 branch libraries, and the construction of eight new library buildings around the City.

Over the past two years, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and the Potrero Library Campaign Committee have worked in partnership with neighborhood residents and community organizations to raise roughly $500,000.  These monies paid for furnishings, fixtures and equipment-expenses not covered by the bond.  “By restoring and building new libraries, we’re creating jobs throughout San Francisco,” said Reiskin. “Potrero’s open, expansive views mimic the expanded opportunities, both for work and for knowledge, that libraries offer our communities.”

For more information on the Potrero Library Campaign, contact Mary Abler at 626.7512 extension 107;


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