BayREN’s Resilient Libraries Network Releases Lessons Learned Report - CivicWell

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BayREN’s Resilient Libraries Network Releases Lessons Learned Report

By Yeymi Rivas Reyes, Communications Coordinator at the Bay Area Regional Energy Network

Climate Change & Energy


March 14, 2024


Photo courtesy of Oakland Branch Library

Libraries have always been vital community hubs for learning and development as well as access to critical community resources, especially for frontline communities. As temperatures continue to rise and climate hazards become more prevalent in the Bay Area, many local governments and community stakeholders are exploring whether their libraries can also serve as Community Resilience Centers, (CRCs) to help communities access resources and stay safe during these increasingly common natural hazard related events.

To support local jurisdictions’ work to advance CRCs, the Bay Area Regional Energy Network (BayREN) led a pilot initiative to develop a network of energy efficient and resilient local libraries across the Bay Area. BayREN’s Resilient Libraries Network, provided free engineering technical assistance and energy and funding recommendations for participating libraries to identify energy upgrades needed to improve their library site’s efficiency, resilience, and ability to provide cooling and clean air. 

The following six Bay Area libraries were selected to participate; Marin County Free Library branches in Fairfax and Novato, East Palo Alto Library, Biblioteca Latinoamericana Library in San José, and Oakland Public Library’s West Oakland and 81st Avenue Branches. “Libraries are a critical resource that promote community education and resilience,” said San Jose City Librarian Jill Bourne. “The San José Public Library is appreciative of the acknowledgement by BayREN and excited that the Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch was selected as one of the six libraries in the Bay Area to become a Community Resilience Center.”

BayREN recently released a summary of lessons learned from the Resilient Libraries Network and recommendations to integrate the learnings from the pilot into future BayREN offerings. BayREN applauds the efforts of the six participating jurisdictions to expand and evolve their ability to provide critical community resilience resources and support to the communities that need it most. Their leadership will enable BayREN to support many more Bay Area jurisdictions in advancing critical community resilience resources.