Empire Library Building Project

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Rendering of the exterior of the new Empire Library to be built

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.


Construction Photos

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.

A large cement area surrounded by a black steel fence. There are two long, curved cement seating areas. One to the left and one to the right at the back of the cement area near the fence. In the background there is a large tree, a grassy area, and several smaller trees in the distance.
Large room with wood-like flooring, tan walls, and two windows. There is a large LCD screen on the back wall. There are two rows of chairs for people to sit, with more chairs in the back in a stack for use if needed.
A panoramic view of the area with study tables, a shelving area for magazines, and the check out desk. The carpet is in sections with orange, then gray, and then blue.
A panoramic view of the area with study tables, a shelving area for magazines, and the check out desk. The carpet is in sections with orange, then gray, and then blue.
The inside view of the front entrance glass doors with windows to both sides of the doors, as well as small windows above the doors. The doors have RFID gates on each side. There is a set of shelving to the right, with a study table with chairs to the left of the shelving. The carpet is a section of orange to the left, gray in the middle section, and blue on the right section under the shelving.
Bright yellow walls, orange rug, and book shelving around a rug with a design that looks like a river with a rope bridge across the river, surrounded by grass, rocks, and cattails. By one end of the rug is a play kitchen area. The other end has a wooden table with two wooden chairs.
Bright yellow walls, book shelving, a table with chairs, and an orange rug.
Bright yellow walls, a gray rug, a small area with an orange rug, an area with a blue rug, and book shelving around a rug with a design that looks like a river with a rope bridge across the river, surrounded by grass, rocks, and cattails. By one end of the rug is a play kitchen area. The other end has a wooden table with two wooden chairs. The teen area with shelving, a green rug, and a table with chairs is in the background.
Two brown chairs with blue, peach, and yellow shapes are in the foreground of the photo with a small round table between them. The shelving for the children's area is in the background surrounded by bright yellow walls.
Two brown chairs with blue, peach, and yellow shapes are in the foreground of the photo with a small round table between them. The shelving for the teen area, as well as a study area table, is in the background. The walls are beige.
Shelving for the books in the adult section, with a blue carpet, with gray triangles, two chairs, as well as a study table with chairs. There are two tall, narrow windows to the left behind the two chairs.
An outside view from the sidewalk of the new Empire Library.
An outside view of the outdoor aread of the new Empire Library.
One of the restrooms in the new Empire Library. Includes orange, dark blue, and white tiles with white walls, sink, toilet, and baby changing table.
One of the restrooms in the new Empire Library. Includes orange, green, and white tiles with white walls, sink, toilet, and baby changing table.
The interior of the Community Room of new Empire Library. Includes flooring, overhead lights, and windows.
The office for the supervisor of new Empire Library. Includes blue carpet, white walls, and a window that looks into the main area of the library.
The interior of the main area of new Empire Library. Includes blue and orange carpet being put down, blue and orange walls, lights overhead, and the circulation desk.
The interior of the main area of new Empire Library. Includes blue and green carpet,and beige and tan walls.
The interior of the main area of new Empire Library. Includes blue, orange, and carpet, lights overhead, and the circulation desk.
The interior walls of the new Empire Library.
The interior walls of the new Empire Library.
The interior walls of the new Empire Library.
The exterior walls of the new Empire Library.
The exterior walls of the new Empire Library.
The exterior walls of the new Empire Library.
The unfinished interior walls of the new Empire Library.
The underlayment for the roof of the new Empire Library.
The unfinished wood exterior of the front and one side wall for the new Empire Library.
The coming soon sign on the cylone fencing around the construction site of the new Empire Library.
The framing for the first walls for the new Empire Library is up.
The concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being poured.
The concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being poured.
The form for concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being constructed.
The form for concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being constructed.

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.

Floor plan for the interior of the new Empire Library Site plan for the area of the new Empire Library

Additional Architectural Renderings

The rendering of the Empire Library near the entrance.
The rendering of the Empire Library courtyard.
The rendering of the interior of the Empire Library from the entry.
The rendering of the view from the circulation area of the Empire Library.
The rendering of the exterior of the Empire Library from the front.

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.

Picture of the Empire Branch Library on G Street. There is a sign over the door and a large sign in the grass. The library had been a house so has a porch and steps leading to the door

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.


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