Save the Old Hayward Library 

by Michael Wallace

Special to the San Leandro Times

In June of 2014 citizens of Hayward passed Measure C. They voted for additional police services, fire stations, street repairs, more maintenance workers and a new library. Did they know that with those funds the old library building would be torn down when the new library is built? Well, it will be torn down unless the City Council of Hayward changes their minds. The bids are in from the contractors, and the cost to tear down the old library, make the basement into a water tank, and cover it in pavers will be between $5.2 million and $8.8 million. Is that what was voted for? The group Save the Old Hayward Library has been formed to try to stop this waste.

What's the purpose of the water tank in the old building's basement? It would collect rain run-off from the new library and the parking structure next to it to use as gray water. Trying to save water is a commendable goal but at what price? If every drop that falls on the new library and the parking structure is collected, the payoff on this investment would take about 600 years at current water costs in the city. Is that the best use of over 5 million taxpayer dollars?

The group Save the Old Hayward Library wants to save the old building and convert it into a “Creative Space” to help revitalize downtown Hayward. It would be an art gallery and performance space along with a “maker lab” and tech incubator. The Group's hope is to create a dynamic place in the heart of the city where art and technology can be brought together—a synthesis of what makes the Bay Area great. This idea is supported by the Hayward Arts Council, Sun Gallery, A.R.T. Inc. of Castro Valley, and faculty and staff of both Chabot College and CSU Eastbay/Hayward. This would be a center for the larger community to celebrate art and technology.

Save the Old Hayward Library fully supports building the new 21st-century library. But this Creative Space would be a better complement to the new library than another empty lot in downtown Hayward.

The Hayward City Council will vote on this at their meeting September 15 at 7 PM in the Hayward City Hall. Go to the meeting and tell the Council where you stand on tearing down the Old Hayward Library.

Save the Old Hayward Library