Empire Library Building Project
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New library opens June 9, 2021
The new Empire Library located at 98 I Street, next to the Regional Water Safety Center/Empire Pool and park, opened for operation beginning June 9.
A video celebrating the completion of the Empire Community Library on Tuesday, June 8 is available below.
A generous donation of land from the Empire Community Hall Association sparked the dream of a new library for the community. The building will feature dedicated spaces for children, teens and adults, as well as a community room.
The Empire Library project budget is $4,763,607 with funding from Library Fund Balance, Library Public Facilities Fees, Sheriff Public Facility Fees, Sunlight Giving, and the County General Fund.
Empire Library Groundbreaking Video
It wasn’t possible to gather for a traditional groundbreaking ceremony due to COVID-19. However, the beginning of this project is something to celebrate. Enjoy the video created to mark this exciting occasion.
The new 4,720 square foot library is nearly complete. View photos from various stages of the project below. Clicking on any of the thumbnail images on this page will display a full-size image.
Architectural Renderings and Site Plans
Community input was gathered at a series of meetings hosted by Supervisor Kristin Olsen and the Empire Municipal Advisory Council. Community needs and a desire for a community gathering place inspired the architectural design of the building. Roebbelen Contractors, Dewberry Architects, and LDA Architects are partners in the project.
The new 4,720-square-foot library will be more than twice the size of the current library. It will feature spaces for children, teens and adults, with a community room that opens to a covered outdoor patio for library programs and community events. A sheriff’s substation will be located in the building as well. Additional architectural renderings are below.
Additional Architectural Renderings
History of the Empire Library
The first Empire Library opened March 20, 1914, upstairs in the Bechtel Building, on the corner of South Church Street and Yosemite Blvd. Emma Bechtel served as librarian from 1914 to 1924. In 1925, Emma built a one-room building for the library adjacent to the Bechtel Building and Myrtle Pfarr became the librarian until she retired on October 27, 1938.
Upon Mrs. Pharr’s retirement, Winnie Lindsay took over as librarian, and on October 4, 1941, the library moved into a new building one block away, at 22 North G Street. The library would remain at this location for almost 60 years. Mrs. Lindsay retired October 14, 1943. Anna Kathryn Heisel became Empire’s librarian in 1944, a post she would hold for the next 30 years. Read more of the history here.