HomeCity NewsCity Secures $10 Million for New Library

City Secures $10 Million for New Library

Burbank Library Services Director Elizabeth Goldman announced this week that the city has been awarded a grant of $9.95 million from the California State Library to fund a new, modern Central Library.

A new central library is at the heart of a $116.7 million plan to overhaul the city’s downtown Civic Center over the next five years by building affordable housing, parking and other amenities.

“The current Central Library is 60 years old, and has long ceased to meet the needs of today’s library users. This funding from the California State Library will help us move forward with efforts to build a new central library,” said Goldman.

The state grant secures a significant portion of funding for the overall estimated cost of $68 million for the new library. Grant funds will be put toward building features that support its sustainability, accessibility and resilience.

Out of a pool of nearly 150 applicants, Burbank was one of 34 recipients of $172 million total statewide for the Building Forward Library Facilities Improvement Program. The $172 million is part of $489 million earmarked by Gov. Gavin Newson and the Legislature to improve libraries.

“It’s great the State Library can provide this opportunity for California libraries to address critical maintenance and accessibility needs. The return on investing in local libraries is always big,” said California State Librarian Greg Lucas.

Goldman said that the new central library will better support the Burbank community’s needs in education, workforce development, technology training, and access to information and culture.

“The new Burbank Central Library will bring significant opportunity not only to downtown Burbank but to all residents of the city. In a modern facility, the library will be able to expand support for students, job seekers, lifelong learners, and those needing information and connection,” said Goldman.

Planning for the Civic Center and new central library is underway. City staff will present plans to the City Council in 2024 before launching a competitive process to identify a development partner, with the target date for the opening of the new library in 2028.

The project encompasses three blocks of the city’s existing Civic Center space and could include a 65,000 square feet replacement of the Central Library, office spaces, three new housing developments totaling 475 units, 20% of which are proposed to be low-income households, in addition to 15,000 square feet of commercial space, parking and other infrastructure improvements.

The city first identified the need to renovate the Central Library in plans dating back to the 1980s. The library’s only significant remodels were done in 1992, with new carpet and paint.

In 2003, Measure L was approved by more than two-thirds of Burbank voters to fund library renovations contingent on securing state matching funds, which were never successfully obtained.

Then, in 2018, Burbank voters revived hopes for a new library when they approved Measure P. This measure established an ongoing tax-based revenue stream and set aside 50% of funds for infrastructure improvement programs into Burbank’s infrastructure fund, Fund 534.

“This grant from the California State Library is a momentous opportunity for the city of Burbank and gets us closer to creating a new modern state-of-the-art Central Library. We are committed to making the most of this opportunity and look forward to the day when we can celebrate the completion of this transformative community project,” said City Manager Justin Hess.

For more information, to provide input, or to register for project updates, visit burbankciviccenter.com.

First published in the October 21 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

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