Hayward Library & Community Learning Center

  • area / size 58,000 sqft
  • Completed 2022
  • Noll & Tam Architects designed the Hayward Library & Community Learning Center as an integral space in Hayward, California.

    The new library is conceived around the notion of it being “The Heart of the City,” and is envisioned as the centerpiece of social infrastructure to support the citizens of Hayward. Toward that end, the collections play a critical role in offering patrons a broad variety of popular reading materials. Extensive children’s collections, a creative and diverse YA collection, research and educational collections, lots of CDs and DVDs that are still wildly popular in Hayward, a wide range of periodicals and newspapers, materials in different languages to support a very diverse community where over 40 languages are spoken at home, materials in print and digital formats, access to a wide variety of databases, family literacy collections, and more are all found in the new library. In addition to more traditional materials, the library also provides seed lending, laptop computers, wifi hotspots, and access to 3D printers, robotics, and textiles. Library staff are constantly working to provide materials the public wants through professional research and responding to requests from patrons. The library houses 50% more materials than the old library, including books and multi-media for all ages, and has a healthy acquisitions budget to keep the collections growing and relevant.

    A Community Awakened
    A 20+ year process engaged the public in the conceptualization, programming and design of the new library. The community and the Friends of the Library galvanized around the idea of a Community Learning Center, imagining it as much more than a library. “The community came together, and the result was even greater than any one of us thought was possible,” said former library director Sean Reinhardt.

    A Model of Sustainability
    The 58,000-square-foot building produces 100 percent of its annual energy use through solar capture, eliminates the use of natural gas, runs only on electricity, and is 50 percent more energy efficient than required by building code. Using passive building design strategies to conserve energy and highly innovative water conservation measures, the building establishes new standards for sustainability and is a model for other communities. Once verified, the building is expected to be the largest Zero Net Energy library facility in the nation and is on target for LEED Platinum certification.

    A Beautiful Experience
    The building’s calm terra-cotta façade fits comfortably into the ubiquitous brick buildings of Hayward’s downtown. The restrained exterior, with large expanses of glass, takes its form from the innovative composite structural system, which pulls the structural supports to the exterior of the building, allowing the interior to be light-filled and open around a sculptural central atrium. This atrium was carefully designed to bring natural light into the building’s core. It also organizes the interior spaces, helps patrons with wayfinding, opens up the building internally, and is the signature feature with its grand staircase.

    Ascending the Tiers of Knowledge
    Each floor builds upon the previous, reflecting the advancement of knowledge through different seasons of life. The first floor is foundational, teaching fundamentals with the children’s area, a tween zone, and a dedicated homework tutoring center. It is lively, active, and fun. The second floor is about community and technology, and includes a teen area, a technology classroom, the digital media creation lab, a makerspace and a large community conference room. It is a place of active learning, experiments, and social space. Finally, the third floor has focused quiet areas with the main print collection, a quiet reflection lounge, and several reading rooms.

    A Symbol for the Community
    Together, the library and plaza project has spanned 16 years of community process, design, and construction, bringing together city officials, community stakeholders, and residents. Conceived as a multi-functional learning center, it is designed to meet the demands of Hayward’s diverse community. The new library is a centerpiece of social infrastructure—a state-of-the-art, adaptable and inspirational space where everyone is welcome to make it their own.

    Design: Noll & Tam Architects
    Contractor: T. B. Penick & Sons
    Photography: Bruce Damonte, Ethan Kaplan