New Central Library

New Central Library Renderings


New Central Library

710 W. César Chávez St.


  • 2017: Grand Opening anticipated

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 gift boutique
  • Gallery space featuring local and national artists
  • Abundant bicycle parking
  • A permanent exhibit of beloved puppets created by the Austin Public Library

April 2017 Update

The blitz is on to finish the construction of Austin’s New Central Library. Punch-out, also known as punch list work, is in full progress as a complete set of the details still needing to be finished in this construction job is being created during walk-throughs of our high-rise building by the owner’s representatives, listing as they go all items they find unsatisfactory or unfinished as laid out in the original contract. Punch lists can vary from minor details to large problems with the implementation of the design of the building, but following the walk-throughs, the contractor is required to fix the items listed to the owner’s satisfaction prior to final payment. Because of the unique aspects of high-rise buildings, providing for smoke management in case of a fire event can be challenging, and this has proven to be the case with the New Central Library. The New Central Library was designed to function with two different types of fixed smoke management systems in order to provide a tenable environment for safe egress for building occupants. Working together, the consultant engineers and contractors have brought the exhaust smoke management system used in the atrium to operate within design parameters. This “exhaust method” system uses large mechanical fans near the roof to pull smoke from the atrium, operating in synchronization with a battery of fans on the lowest level providing supply or “makeup” air. Work goes on at this time to complete the fixed smoke management system designed to provide positive pressurization of all three stairwells that serve the high-rise portion of the structure. This positive pressure is achieved through mechanical fans that inject outside air into the stairwells, and most of the fire alarm devices in the structure, including sprinkler water flow alarms, smoke detectors and fire detectors must be able to activate the stairwell pressurization fans, in addition to the manual activation at the system’s control panel. On April 3, installation was allowed to begin of the full complement of steel book shelving required for the New Central Library, as the Fire Marshall wanted to determine how the shelving ranges might affect smoke evacuation in the building. In another important New Central Library development, all parties have agreed to the terms of New Central library Café lease agreement and only exhibits, such as the approved tenant finish-out plans, need to be attached before the document is signed and executed. Finally, only field notes need to be provided by Google for an area of the New Central Library basement to be licensed for installation of their Optimal Line Terminal (OLT), needed to coordinate the multiplexing between the conversion devices on the optical network terminals located on the premises.

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 CAW by Christian Moeller, a world-class, innovative public artist whose works often incorporate robotic elements. CAW 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

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