oakland library

BayREN's Resilient Libraries Network

The BayREN Resilient Libraries Network launched in November 2022 to develop a network of energy efficient and resilient local libraries that can also function as Community Resilience Centers (CRCs) to deliver resources before, during and/or after natural hazard-related events. This innovative pilot program concluded in early 2024. 

Read about the Lessons Learned Report to inform future programs focused on increasing community energy resilience: 

Read the Report

Executive Summary

Pilot Goals

  • Create a network of Bay Area libraries working to improve community resilience based on local needs.
  • Provide community engagement and facilitation support to develop community driven goals for Bay Area Community Resilience Centers.
  • Provide participants with free engineering technical assistance and recommendations to identify energy upgrades needed to improve each library building's efficiency, resilience, and ability to provide cooling and clean air.  
  • Match participants directly with resilience funding and finance experts to identify relevant funding sources to implement recommended energy upgrades and other community resilience goals.

Timeline and Eligibility

Pilot Timeline
  • November 2022 – Initiative Kick Off Meeting
    • Kick off convening for selected participants and initiative partners
  • November 2022 – September 2023 – Development of Site Assessments
    • BayREN’s technical assistance team will work directly with City/County Leads to conduct site assessments and develop recommendations for energy upgrades
  • January 2023 – October 2023 – Resilience Funding and Financing Support and Guidance
    • Participants are matched with resilience funding and finance experts who identify relevant funding and financing opportunities to integrate into site assessment reports based on energy upgrade recommendations
  • December 2023 – Network Implementation Meeting
    • Wrap up convening to share lessons learned and present final site assessment reports and funding and financing recommendations to initiative participants


Eligibility to Participate

Please note the application period has ended and the pilot program is starting in November 2022. 

  • The pilot is open to Bay Area cities and counties.*
  • Each application must include a Bay Area City or County staff member who will act as the Local Government Lead and primary point of contact for BayREN.
    • Local Government Lead - Acts as the primary point of contact for BayREN and participates in participant convenings. This must be a city or county staff member who can connect BayREN with necessary energy use information about the library site to complete the site assessment.

BayREN encourages applicants to build a "CRC Team" of relevant stakeholders that the Local Government Lead can partner with to both develop community driven goals for their CRC and implement energy upgrades and other activities to realize these goals. 

Examples of stakeholders that could join the CRC Team include but are not limited to:

  • Community members, representatives and/or residents that will co-develop the goals for the CRC and provide guidance on local community needs.
  • Library staff at the library site that can co-develop goals for the CRC and provide guidance on community needs and existing library resources and priorities.
  • County Office of Emergency Services (OES) staff that will co-develop goals for the CRC and provide insight on how to coordinate this initiative with existing OES

*BayREN serves all Bay Area cities and counties who are PG&E customers for electricity and/or gas distribution. The City of Healdsburg and the City of Palo Alto have their own utilities that provide both electricity and gas distribution and therefore are not eligible to participate in this pilot. Jurisdictions that purchase electricity through a CCA are eligible to participate.

Participating Libraries

Six Bay Area libraries were selected to participate, with priority given to branches that will serve communities who are most impacted by climate change.

Alameda County - 81st Avenue Branch Library

Oakland’s 81st Avenue Branch Library is in an MTC designated Equity Priority Community and functions as both a public and a school library by providing valuable services to two local public schools and the larger community. This Library functioned as a key part of Oakland’s COVID-19 pandemic response in 2020 and has distributed over 100,000 meals to individuals and families in need. Community outreach has revealed a need for flexible spaces that provide services in times of minor disruptions as well as major emergencies – this site aims to meet that need.

Alameda County – West Oakland Library

​​​​​The West Oakland Library is in an MTC designated Equity Priority Community and has been identified as one of three municipal facilities that will make up the West Oakland Resilience Hub. The site requires a full rebuild to meet current energy resilience needs and aims specifically to help address a lack of emergency support spaces in the area by acting as an emergency respite center.

West oakland library
Marin County – Fairfax Branch Library

​​​​​The Fairfax Branch Library serves a large senior population and already functions as a cooling and clean air center during extreme heat events and poor air quality days. This site plans to expand these services to provide relief on extreme cold days and to act as a communications hub providing access to timely and reliable information during these events as well as access to charging and wi-fi.

Two Fairfax Librarians Celebrate Library Opening
April Hayley
Marin County – Novato Branch Library

​​​​​The Novato Branch Library serves three census tracts identified as California Climate Investment Priority Communities and partners with local organizations to serve a diverse community of families, Spanish speaking residents, and lower-income community members. This site aims to expand these services by providing a safe space and access to information ahead of and during wildfires, power outages, and extreme temperature events.

Novato Library
San Mateo County – East Palo Alto Library

​​​​​​The East Palo Alto Library already acts as a community hub for those most in need by serving meals and providing access to air conditioning, filtered air, wi-fi, and power to charge devices. This site hopes to expand services to address the needs of the East Palo Alto community and help prepare residents for flooding and earthquakes, both of which are prevalent risks for this location.

east palo alto library
Santa Clara County – Biblioteca Latinoamericana Library (BLA) San Jose

​​​​​​The Biblioteca Latinoamericana Library is in an MTC designated Equity Priority Community and is already designated as a Disaster District Office for Council District 3 in San Jose. This site plans to upgrade the building to increase the library’s ability to function as a Community Resilience Center to meet community needs during extreme heat and poor air quality events. 

bibliothequa lationamericana

*MTC Equity Priority Community Definition: https://mtc.ca.gov/planning/transportation/access-equity-mobility/equity-priority-communities

Please contact Aleka Seville at aseville@bayareametro.gov with any questions.