Building Projects

As the demand for library services continues to grow and change, libraries are adapting to meet community needs now and into the future. Facilities play a crucial role in the ability of the library to meet customer expectations and support the system's Strategic Plan and service model.

The SMCL Service Model focuses on creating a welcoming environment that is customer-centered and responsive to current societal trends. It encompasses elements such as colorful, playful, and engaging spaces for children; retailing concepts that showcase books and materials; cozy armchairs for quiet reading; casual space for teens to congregate; learning centers for computer and homework activities; flexible gathering spaces for programs and events; more intuitive layouts and effective signage; and the utilization of advanced technologies. These elements result in higher library use and participation in the offerings of the library, a greater understanding of the richness of the available resources, and a higher level of customer satisfaction.

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, August 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 offering quiet reading and study rooms, an expansive children's room, a teen room, 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 Bayopens a new window, San Mateo County Libraries, and the County of San Mateoopens a new window, with assistance from the Friends of the Half Moon Bay Libraryopens 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!


Exciting plans are underway for the much-anticipated new Atherton Library Project. On Saturday, April 23, 2019, the community gathered to celebrate the official launch of this exciting new project at the Atherton Library Groundbreaking Ceremony.

The Atherton Library Project is a collaborative effort between San Mateo County Libraries and the Town of Athertonopens a new window. Patrons can expect the new Library to include flexible, blended, multi-use spaces which can be readily adapted. Plans include a dedicated quiet reading area, expanded children’s area, multiple meeting rooms, a makerspace, and much more.

To prepare for the new facility, library staff moved out of the Library and into a 2,880 sq. ft. modular building that sits on the current site. The temporary Atherton Library offers public access computers, bestselling fiction and non-fiction, DVDs, a small children’s collection, and patron reserves. It also features a small outdoor reading area, Wi-Fi, photocopier, printer, self-checkout, and 3D printing services.

Enjoy some highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony! The new Library grand opening projected date is estimated for the Summer of 2021.


San Mateo County Libraries and our partners — the City of Brisbaneopens a new window and the County of San Mateoopens a new window — are pleased to announce that after years of hard work and effort, the new Brisbane Library will open its doors this fall.

Construction on the new one-story 7,670 sq. ft. library kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony last summer on the new library site. The existing library has remained open throughout construction.

The new library will be an inviting, modern and engaging facility that will feature something for everyone. Our community can expect an impressive Makerspace and a large community room that will support extended learning and collaboration, dedicated areas for children and teens, and beautiful outdoor spaces for a native garden and community patio.

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 Reportopens a new window, San Mateo County Libraries — in partnership with the City of East Palo Altoopens a new window and the County of San Mateoopens a new window — hired wHY Architectureopens a new window of Los Angeles to verify the building program, explore the feasibility of building a library adjacent to the EPACenter Arts Centeropens a new window, and prepare design concepts.

On December 12, 2018, a community workshop was held to gather public inputopens a new window on conceptual design options for a possible new East Palo Alto Library. wHY Architecture presented two inspiring design conceptsopens 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.

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 Councilopens 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 accommodation of community spaces in collaboration with Pacifica Parks, Beaches, and Recreationopens a new window.

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