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  • Explore Central Library Architecture

  • This wing was dedicated on January 26, 1990 as a memorial to Mrs. Ria Lee through the generosity of her husband, Dr. Henry Lee III, and her son, Ronald G. Lee. In May 1991 a generous gift was made to endow the Fine Arts Room in the names of Robin and Linda Galbally.

    This area, the Reference Wing on the north, and the Main Hall were restored in one large project to take advantage of "economies of scale" and to minimize disruption to library services. This work was completed during August and September 1989.

    As in the other areas of the Library, woodwork was repaired and refinished and pendant lights and schoolhouse globe fixtures replaced jarring 1960's era lighting. The same lovely carpeting is used here as elsewhere. Here it replaced a dark green "battleship" grade linoleum and has markedly improved the acoustics by softening and absorbing sounds.

    Note the ceiling here and elsewhere in the building. The beams are hand-hewn redwood. The center tiles are composed of plaster and crushed sugar cane stalks which were blended and tinted brown. Myron Hunt used this combination instead of solid oak which was not affordable under the budget constraints of that day. The use of sugar cane stalks also was an economical way to help with the acoustics and control noise. Hunt wrote that the acoustic quality was from the porosity of the crushed sugar cane stalks.

    Blond maple shelving and furniture of the 1960's provided a startling contrast next to the 1920's era oak immediately adjacent. Now both rooms flow together naturally thanks to a continuous use of replicas of original tables and chairs, matching woodwork and shelving, and lighting.

    The Fine Arts Room, and its mirror image which is the Community Bank Business Room over on the north side, underwent what was the most amazing transformation of any area in the entire Library. These wings were part of the 1966-1967 additions to the Library.