New Central Library

New Central Library Renderings


New Central Library

710 W. César Chávez St.


  • November 2016: Building construction substantially completed
  • May 2017: Grand Opening Ceremony rescheduled

What is a "library for the future"?

  • Flexible & Blended Spaces
  • Focus on electronic delivery of information
  • State-of-the-art technologies
  • Community gathering place promoting a mixture of lively and contemplative spaces
  • Collections displayed to encourage discovery

What will the New Central Library offer?

  • Location of New Central Library near the Seaholm Power PlantReading porches and an indoor reading room overlooking Shoal Creek and Lady Bird Lake
  • Landmark public gathering atrium space adjacent to Shoal Creek
  • Library café with outdoor dining adjacent to Second St. and Shoal Creek Park
  • Recycled Reads bookstore and upcycling facility
  • Gallery space featuring local and national artists
  • Abundant bicycle parking
  • A permanent exhibit of beloved puppets created by the Austin Public Library

August 2016 Update

Good headway continued to be made toward completing the New Central Library building throughout the month of August.  Landscaping activities are now underway north of the new 2nd Street bridge, while storm water line construction and the cut and fill operations necessary to complete the Lance Armstrong Bikeway are in progress on the east and south sides of our building. Meanwhile, metal mesh panels and scrim are being fitted to the Bike Corral, waterproofing and insulating are being performed at the Café deck, and in the Special Event Forum, installation of the window shade system is nearing completion. Wood ceiling panels are being placed at the Cesar Chavez plaza, the installation of stone flooring continues in the Special Event Forum lobby and the Cooking Demonstration area, HVAC diffusers are going up in the Art Gallery, and the Third and Fourth Floor reading porches are being screened in at the same time the metal scrim and metal panels are being installed at these locations and at the east canopy. On the Second Floor, the walls of shipping and receiving area is being taped, floated and painted while the terrazzo floor in the lobby area is being polished and the mesquite flooring placed in the lobby area. Wave ceiling panels, fire sprinkler system components and lighting fixtures are in the process of being installed in the Teen Center while the soffit of the Craft Room is being framed and sheet-rocked in the Children’s area on the Third Floor. On Level Four, state-of-the-art lighting fixtures are being installed in the Grand Reading Room. The construction of the glass railing system is nearly completed in the atrium on the top floor, Level Six, and the IPE decking is being placed in the roof garden. IPE is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to rot and decay, is eight times harder than California Redwood, and is guaranteed for twenty years without preservatives.

In a related New Central Library project development,  subcontractor bids to install the photovoltaic (solar panel) array on the New Central Library roof were due to the Construction Manager at Risk, Hensel Phelps, on August 16.  As the building nears completion, commissioning procedures are moving to the top of the list of topics discussed at weekly construction progress meetings. Commissioning is an intensive quality assurance program that ensures that a new building operates initially as the owner intended and that building staff are prepared to operate and maintain its systems and equipment. In a similar process, involved staff from multiple Library divisions are now holding “mock event planning sessions“ to better familiarize themselves with the capabilities of our new Ungerboeck event booking software.  A conference call was conducted on August 15 with architects, City of Austin staff and the manufacturer of the cooking demonstration cart to complete the design of that essential piece of custom-made equipment. Finally, Security Coordination Meetings have started with contractor personnel and Library staff members to finalize the setup of such devices as security cameras, door hardware and card access equipment. 

Art in Public Places

Birds by Christian Moeller, kinetic sculpture resembling a gigantic cuckoo clockOn January 6, 2014 the Art in Public Places Panel approved the Final Design for the New Central Library Art Project titled Birds by Christian Moeller, a world-class, innovative public artist whose works often incorporate robotic elements. Birds is a 37’ kinetic sculpture resembling a gigantic cuckoo clock with a swinging pendulum which will be wall-mounted in the atrium.

An accompanying LED animation screen featuring a black bird will be mounted on the 5th level. A computer program will drive the behavior and gestures of the bird using an artificial life system. This work is inspired in part by Austin’s relation to its resident grackle population and by the strong presence black birds have in mythology and literature.

New Central Library Contacts

Cindy Jordan
Project Manager, Public Works

John Gillum
Facilities Process Manager, Austin Public Library