Plan for a New Garberville Library

Garberville's New Library held its Grand Opening on Wednesday October 13, 2021  

The library has been well-received by the community and is praised for its well-lit, comfortable space, and friendly staff. Everyone is enjoying the new books, many purchased with generous donations from enthusiastic local readers.

More about the 'Garberville Mini-Complex' and the Library

Adams Commercial General Contracting of Eureka was the general contractor and Sally Swanson Architects the architect for the project. The building broke ground on September 2, 2020. 

During construction of the new building, the Garberville Library continued to make library materials and services available to the public. 

The library was temporarily housed in the Department of Health and Human Services office located at 727 Cedar St. in Garberville. An outdoor book return was hosted by Ray's Food Place. The Bookmobile visited the Garberville Post Office on the first four Thursdays of each month and provided access to materials from the whole County Public Library System. 

Creating arrangements that allowed library service to continue all during the construction and pandemic was a collaborative effort among County workers from the Library, DHHS and DHHS Information Services, the County Administrative Office, Information Technology, and Public Works/Building Maintenance. 

Artist's sketch of the building to house the library, substation, & meeting room.

An artist's sketch of the new Garberville Campus Complex.

Construction During a Worldwide Pandemic

Hopes and plans were made for a new Garberville library well before the date construction began. However, in December 2019, a deadly new virus, SARScoV2, was identified and soon swept the world. In January 2020, Covid-19 was declared a national Public Health Emergency in the USA. By March 20, a local emergency was declared as the virus had reached Humboldt County. A Shelter in Place order was issued by the County Health Officer. 

Multiple Covid-19 restrictions continued during the entire time the new Garberville mini-complex was being built. The pandemic affected the whole community, everyone who worked on the project, supplies of materials, transportation of materials, construction timelines, and every other aspect of the work. Kudos to all for their patience, courage, and persistence in getting the job done.

March 20, 2021

A Grant from the Humboldt Library Foundation 

While construction was underway, the Humboldt Library Foundation awarded $9,100 toward the purchase of sturdy, good quality children's furniture for the children's area of the new library.

'The Friends of the Garberville Library deeply appreciate the Humboldt Library Foundation’s generous assistance in funding furniture for the Children’s section in Garberville’s new branch building,' said FOGL President Liz Davidson. 'Weekly story time has been our most popular program, and the appealing and accessible furniture with enhance our patrons' enjoyment.'

The new furniture could help the Garberville Library to continue and expand its children’s programming. 'I’m so excited about the new library and what it will bring to the community,' said Branch Manager Kay Sheldon.

'There will be increased entertainment and educational events at the library, both day and evening, for children and adults, guaranteeing the comfortable furniture will be well used and appreciated by all.'

Board President Elizabeth Murguia explains 'HLF was pleased to donate, and we share the excitement of the community to know the doors will open soon on the long-awaited facility – where children and patrons of every age will once again access its treasures. We’re enormously grateful to our supporters from across Humboldt County who helped make this donation possible.'  

The Humboldt Library Foundation always welcomes donations that can be invested -- and grow to help with projects like this one.

Learn more about the Humboldt Library Foundation here.

May 8, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic imposed delays, but the building work continued. Meanwhile, the Friends of Garberville Library and library staff were at work on the library collection. Here's part of an announcement the Friends made on their Facebook site.

Friends of the Garberville Library, May 8, 2021 at 1:35 PM ·

Books are being ordered for the collection

Garberville’s permanent collection of more than 5400 books, movies, and other materials was evaluated by the County Library’s librarians as the old building was packed up. They determined that the reference collection was in need of current titles. 

Nearly 3200 circulating books and other items were dated, lost, or simply worn out and ready to be replaced. We’re adding new titles in Spanish to serve our increasing numbers of Spanish-speaking residents. 

The County Library estimates the total cost of updating the collection to be $22,500. The Friends have pledged to raise that sum. We hope you will consider becoming a member. Your donation would help us toward that sum. 

We’re thrilled to tell you we have a donor who will match individual donations. Any amount you give will be doubled!

You can pick up a membership envelope at the Chamber of Commerce, or from Kay at the library when you do a curbside pick up. 


August 11, 2021

Outside work continued on the Sheriff's part of the building. Boxes of books were waiting in a staging area of the Main Library for shipping to Garberville as soon as inside construction was complete and all dust and debris cleared away. (Photos 7-31-2021 and 8-11-2021 by Kay Sheldon.) 

The new building is energy-efficient and fully ADA accessible. When it opens, it will feature lots of new books, computer stations for public use, high-speed wireless internet both inside and in the parking lot, a multimedia system for special events, a comfortable children’s section, and a reading and study area. The complex also includes a conference room that will be available for a variety of community programs, and public restrooms, as well as the Sheriff's substation.

Below, you can see a diagram of the floor plan.

The Garberville Mini-Complex floor plan, showing the meeting room and separate Sheriff's Substation as well as the Library.

Garberville Library floor plan, approximate

'When will Garberville's New Library Open?'

The Mini-Complex and Library were first projected to open in February 2021, but with the surge and Delta variant, getting all tools, materials, supplies and personnel in place for every stage of the process proved slower than normal. Everyone working on the project was very dedicated, and kept it moving forward despite the obstacle course the pandemic created.

September 9, 2021 

Photos show an inside view of the almost-complete library. Humboldt Library Director Chris Cooper took these photos with his phone camera. Librarian Kay Sheldon was very happy to see her new desk!

Step by step, the new library moves toward completion. Here you can see the new service desk, perfect outside, and almost finished inside with just a few rough spots left.

From inside the desk you see unfinished book shelves, rolls of linoleum or carpet, and a few cardboard boxes.

A proud carpenter stands inside the newly erected service desk.

A carpenter stands inside the new service desk, built of wood with a glassed-in top.

A detail of the service desk shows the built-in display case and book return slot.

The desk has a small display case built in, and a book return slot.

Here's the view from inside the desk out into the library.

Inside, the service desk is not quite done, and looks out at unfinished shelves.

The library door to the lobby.

The door from the library to the hallway, drinking fountains, restrooms, & entrance.

An empty space awaits bookshelves and books!

Garberville Library's empty, open space waiting for bookshelves.

The Conference Room

The Garberville Campus Complex Conference Room, with a video screen, meeting table, and chairs.

Outside the library - a daytime photo.

Garberville Library on a sunny day in July.

An evening view of the building shows the outdoor lighting.

Garberville Library on 8-11-2021, an evening view that shows the outside lighting.

September 18, 2021

Boxes of books arrived at Garberville Library in preparation for loading on to the shelves, which had just been installed.

New furniture was unpacked - comfortable padded armchairs, playfully shaped children's seating, and tables and chairs for reading and study.

Unpacking the furniture

Comfortable padded armchairs and colorful children's furniture in playful shapes.

In October 2021, the Garberville mini-complex opened its doors and welcomed the public to the new library and meeting space. The Library very much appreciates the work of all the volunteers, County departments and coworkers, planners, collaborators and builders, donors and community partners, the generous welcome extended by DHHS staff in sharing their space, and the creative work of everyone involved.