Building Projects

We strive to create beautiful, state-of-the-art spaces for people to come together and collaborate with the goal of supporting discovery, enriching lives and uplifting our communities. Our libraries are designed to be the heart of the community, a place for everyone to feel welcomed, and support our Strategic Plan and service model.

Our building projects offer something new for everybody, such as colorful and engaging spaces for children, makerspaces for hands-on learning, flexible gathering areas for programs and events, and much more. Each addition aims to create inviting, flexible and modern facilities to support a lifetime of learning and exploration at San Mateo County Libraries.


We were overjoyed to welcome the community on Saturday, June 4, to celebrate the new Atherton Library, now open seven days a week! Attendees enjoyed refreshments on the new library’s front porch and listened to live music before heading inside for storytime, book browsing, demos in the makerspace and digital lab, and more.

Architecture tours shared insights about the building and its sustainable features. Hundreds joined to hear from Mayor Rick DeGolia, Library JPA Chair Reuben Holober, Friends Board member Joan Sanders and special guest Congresswoman Anna Eshoo before children broke through the banner and opened the library for the first time.

“The library’s flexible and inviting space is something the entire community has been looking forward to for years,” said Atherton Mayor Rick DeGolia. “I am excited to see our residents come together here to learn and create.”

After more than three years of construction, the much-anticipated new 10,200 square-foot library facility and restored 1,800 square-foot Historic Town Hall opened for a day of discovery and exploration. Set on the wooded site of Atherton’s newly built Town Center, the beautiful new library includes flexible, blended, multi-use spaces which can be readily adapted for community needs.

Exciting library features include:

  • A large and welcoming front porch that encourages community connections and conversations under the canopy of the majestic oak trees.
  • A quiet reading room that leads out to the library’s back porch for visitors to read and reflect in solitude.
  • Flexible and expanded spaces and collections to support all ages and interest levels.
  • A makerspace and digital lab with 3D printers, a high-performance laser cutter, GoPro camera kits and a deck for makers to find inspiration outdoors.
  • Tech offerings include laptops and WiFi hotspots available for checkout, plus computers and printers on site.
  • Multiple meeting rooms including the renovated Historic Town Hall celebrating Atherton’s unique history and the new Willie Mays room, named in honor of the Hall of Famer, a beloved Atherton resident and legendary San Francisco Giant.

On Saturday, April 23, 2019, the community gathered to celebrate the official launch of this exciting new project at the Atherton Library Groundbreaking Ceremony. Enjoy some highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony!

Brisbane Grand Celebration & Architecture Award

The new Brisbane Library won the 2022 AIASF People’s Choice Award, opens a new window for projects under $10 million. AIASF stands for the American Institute of Architects San Francisco, opens a new window, and the 2022 AIASF Design Awards program honors 20 projects in the categories of architecture, interior architecture, unbuilt design and people’s choice. The award reflects the public’s appreciation for a modern, beautiful library space designed to serve the community with flexible event spaces, quiet reading areas and an inviting back patio created for exploration. Thank you to Siegel and Strain Architects and Karin Payson architecture + design for their phenomenal design and to Cesar Rubio for stunning photography of this beloved new library.

San Mateo County Libraries and our partners - the city of Brisbane and the County of San Mateo, opens a new window - were thrilled to host a successful Grand Celebration of the new Brisbane Library on Saturday, Oct. 23. With its construction and initial opening taking place during the pandemic, the new 7,670-square-foot Brisbane Library's opening has been one of a kind.

Staff, community members and our partners have found endless ways to help this new library shine bright in the "City of Stars", opens a new window and all of our libraries including Brisbane are now fully open for services, opens a new window.

On Oct. 23, San Mateo County Libraries, its partners and community members gathered to hear from San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa, Brisbane City Manager Clay Holstein and Mayor Karen Cunningham, also a member of the JPA Governing Board.

Together, these community leaders shared how the idea for a new library has been 20 years in the making, with Mayor Cunningham acknowledging the "labor of love" it took to make this impressive new library a reality.

At the grand celebration, community members signed up for library cards, borrowed materials, delighted in storytime with special guest readers from Friends of the Brisbane Library and danced and sang along during a staff-led ukulele performance.

Throughout the day, visitors explored the new library, designed to reflect Brisbane's small-town nature, connection to San Bruno Mountain, treasured history, and sustainable values. The building was designed to be a Zero Net Energy building.

Features include the library's Children's Area, Teen Space, Quiet Room, History Room and Makerspace complete with 3D printers, a Glowforge laser cutter, sewing machines, virtual reality, GoPro kits and more.

When library opening activities wrapped up in the late afternoon, the festivities transitioned seamlessly into a celebration of the City of Brisbane's 60th anniversary, further showcasing the new library's offerings and its ability to host a variety of community events.

East Palo Alto Library Planning Stages

East Palo Alto Library has outgrown the physical space of the current facility which opened in 1975. In order to effectively meet our community's needs and improve library services, a Needs Assessment Report was completed in 2017 that analyzed the current use of the library through community meetings, workshops, and surveys. The report recommended that the library increase in size from 7,680 sq. ft. to approximately 21,000-27,000 sq. ft. The community also identified new space options in the report such as a makerspace, teen lounge, outdoor areas, and a community garden.

Building upon the Needs Assessment Report, opens a new window, San Mateo County Libraries - in partnership with the City of East Palo Alto, opens a new window and the County of San Mateo, opens a new window - hired wHY Architecture, opens a new window of Los Angeles to verify the building program, explore the feasibility of building a library adjacent to the EPACenter Arts Center, opens a new window and prepare design concepts.

On December 12, 2018, a community workshop was held to gather public input, opens a new window on conceptual design options for a possible new East Palo Alto Library. wHY Architecture presented two inspiring design concepts, opens a new window to workshop attendees and gathered feedback. The workshop was live-streamed for community members who were unable to attend in person. See the video below.

Half Moon Bay Grand Opening

The Grand Opening of the new Half Moon Bay Library was an unforgettable Coastside event. After two years of construction, and many more years of diligent planning and development, the new Half Moon Bay Library opened its doors on Saturday, Aug. 18, 2018, to a large crowd eager to see what the new library has to offer.

With 22,000 sq. ft., the new two-story library better serves our Coastside communities by offering quiet reading and study rooms, an expansive children's room, a teen room, a collaborative makerspace, and inviting indoor/outdoor spaces including a large community room and gardens. The new building enables us to expand programming and services, including library collections, literacy services, job training, wellness workshops, cutting-edge technology, and much more.

The new library has been built through a partnership between the City of Half Moon Bay, opens a new window, San Mateo County Libraries, and the County of San Mateo, opens a new window, with assistance from the Friends of the Half Moon Bay Library, opens a new window and the support of the community.

Visit our blog for a full recap on opening day events.

As of May 2019, the Half Moon Bay Library has received five prestigious awards:

Take a look at a few highlights from the event!

Pacifica Sharp Park and Sanchez

In September 2018, a report proposed a two-branch model that would allow the Sharp Park location to be redesigned into a new, larger full-service library while the Sanchez location will explore an "open access" service model. A survey was given to the community to gather feedback on both conceptual models. This past February, a conceptual design concept known as The Town Commons was selected by the Pacifica City Council, opens a new window as the preferred concept for moving forward with the Sharp Park redesign. An "open access" service model will continue to be explored for the Sanchez location to allow for the accommodation of community spaces in collaboration with Pacifica Parks, Beaches, and Recreation, opens a new window.

Our next steps will involve refining funding strategies and developing design concepts for both locations.

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