Sneak peek of Brentwood's new library

The Brentwood Library Foundation and the City of Brentwood recently hosted tours of the work in progress at the corner of Oak and First streets as part of the library’s sneak-a-peek event.

On April 28, guests ranging from councilmembers and city officials to donors and The Press slapped on hard hats and walked into the open structure of half-built walls. The tours were led by the expansion project’s architect, Brandon Marshall of Fog Studio.

“(The group-study room) has a large window intentionally looking back to city hall as well into the courtyard below,” said Marshall, pausing for a moment on the second story to showcase the rentable study rooms and also an area for a bookstore that will raise funds for library services. “The new Friends (of the Brentwood Library) bookstore will have a work room behind it.”

Marshall then led the group to the open mezzanine level overlooking the first floor, noting the banister will have long countertops for laptop users. Countertops will be a prominent feature throughout the building – even within employee rooms. He pointed out the location of the elevator, areas for open seating, the craft room – which will hopefully include a sewing machine and 3-D printer – and the periodicals area before leading the group to the adult fiction section where each window will have a seat overlooking the park and city hall.

Pointing to the ceiling, Marshall said, “The wood structural system we’re using here is called cross-laminated timber deck ... The intent is to expose the wood and the warmth of the wood, so we’re getting the structural rigidity out of it, but it feels nice and warm.”

Features the average patron will appreciate without realizing it include the displacement system that will diffuse air. The large white boxes on the ceiling will keep the library a constant temperature that can be tweaked slowly, so it’s not blasting out cold air onto certain areas. 

“It’s more efficient – a passive system so you don’t know things are moving up here, but it’s comfortable,” Marshall said.

The children’s area is currently the skeleton of what will be a 3,500-square-foot retreat of books and areas for computers and story time. 

“The motif is playful but a nod to the natural settings,” Marshall said, explaining that decor will have clouds and trees along with hues of yellow to represent the sun and a small climbing structure to resemble Mount Diablo.

Another interesting component is the structure’s design to filter stormwater, a requirement from the state for a building of its size. Stormwater from the roof will run along the building and through filtration planters before it’s sent back out to the storm system, Marshall said.

Gail Leech, City of Brentwood management analyst, said fundraising that has transpired over the course of construction has helped restore certain elements to the design that were at one point removed due to cost.

“We had to originally cut plans, so that’s been one of the big things for us is fundraising,” Leech said to the tour guests.

The tour concluded in the heart of the library where the staff information desk will be positioned to gain the best line of sight. 

“We were pleased with the turnout,” said Diane Alexander, Brentwood Library Foundation president, who noted 88 people attended the event. “We heard so many positive comments. It was particularly interesting having the architect and project manager show us around. The building is going to be amazing!”

Keystone Circle donor wall contributions are due May 31. For more information or to make a contribution, visit