Ruiz Library Grand Opening

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This Saturday marks the grand opening of the Daniel E. Ruiz branch of the Austin Public Library. The festivities begin at 10:00 on January 31. The official press release notes:

This new 16,000 square foot library will replace the existing 5,079 square foot leased space of the Riverside Drive Branch at 2410 Riverside Drive. The new $6 million library at 1600 Grove Boulevard will be the largest library branch in the system and will serve the growing populations of the Riverside and Montopolis neighborhoods.

I wasn't sure this day would ever come. This represents the culmination of events set in motion back in 1997. During that pre-boom budget cycle, the city went looking for cost saving measures, and selected the Riverside Drive branch for closure. Riverside was a small, storefront library, which made it an easy target. There was vociferous opposition to the closure, in which I participated.

The City Council voted to restore funding to save Riverside. Then, the following year, Austin voters approved a bond package that would fund permanent locations for the last three storefront branches, including Riverside.

The site selection was a tad controversial, because both the Riverside and Montopolis neighborhoods were vying for it. The City Council appointed a citizen's committee to oversee the bond measures. The committee proposed to build a large branch--the largest branch in the system--on Grove Boulevard, where it would be accessible to both neighborhoods.

I've already toured the new branch and it is great. The location is wonderful, between a wooded lot and a natural golf course. It is easily accessible, just down the road from ACC and along a bus route. Congrats to the APL facilities folks for a job well done.

The Internet Training Center at the old Riverside library has been relocated to Ruiz. Our classes start up again next month. If you stop by Saturday, check out the Training Center. I'll be hanging out there giving demos.