Empire Library Building Project

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Rendering of the exterior of the new Empire Library to be built

Construction is underway for a new library in Empire, with completion expected in early 2021. The facility will be conveniently located next to the Regional Water Safety Center/Empire Pool, the park, and across from Empire Elementary School. A generous donation of land from the Empire Community Hall Association sparked the dream of a new library for the community. The building will feature dedicated spaces for children, teens and adults, as well as a community room.

The Empire Library project budget is $4,763,607 with funding from Library Fund Balance, Library Public Facilities Fees, Sheriff Public Facility Fees, Sunlight Giving, and the County General Fund.


Empire Library Groundbreaking Video

It wasn’t possible to gather for a traditional groundbreaking ceremony due to COVID-19. However, the beginning of this project is something to celebrate. Enjoy the video created to mark this exciting occasion.


Construction Photos

The concrete foundation for the 4,720 square foot library, has been poured, just north of the Regional Water Safety Center/Empire Pool. More updates will follow as construction progresses.

Clicking on any of the thumbnail images on this page will display a full-size image.

Construction Begins
The unfinished wood exterior of the front and one side wall for the new Empire Library.
The unfinished wood exterior of one side wall for the new Empire Library, as well as a white dumpster and green tractor.
The coming soon sign on the cylone fencing around the construction site of the new Empire Library.
The framing for the first walls for the new Empire Library is up.
The concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being poured.
The concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being poured.
The form for concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being constructed.
The form for concrete for the foundation slab for the new Empire Library being constructed.

Architectural Renderings and Site Plans

Community input was gathered at a series of meetings hosted by Supervisor Kristin Olsen and the Empire Municipal Advisory Council. Community needs and a desire for a community gathering place inspired the architectural design of the building. Roebbelen Contractors, Dewberry Architects, and LDA Architects are partners in the project.

The new 4,720-square-foot library will be more than twice the size of the current library. It will feature spaces for children, teens and adults, with a community room that opens to a covered outdoor patio for library programs and community events. A sheriff’s substation will be located in the building as well. Additional architectural renderings are below.

Floor plan for the interior of the new Empire Library Site plan for the area of the new Empire Library

Additional Architectural Renderings

The rendering of the Empire Library near the entrance.
The rendering of the Empire Library courtyard.
The rendering of the interior of the Empire Library from the entry.
The rendering of the view from the circulation area of the Empire Library.
The rendering of the exterior of the Empire Library from the front.

History of the Empire Library

The first Empire Library opened March 20, 1914, upstairs in the Bechtel Building, on the corner of South Church Street and Yosemite Blvd. Emma Bechtel served as librarian from 1914 to 1924. In 1925, Emma built a one-room building for the library adjacent to the Bechtel Building and Myrtle Pfarr became the librarian until she retired on October 27, 1938.

Picture of the Empire Branch Library on G Street. There is a sign over the door and a large sign in the grass. The library had been a house so has a porch and steps leading to the door

Upon Mrs. Pharr’s retirement, Winnie Lindsay took over as librarian, and on October 4, 1941, the library moved into a new building one block away, at 22 North G Street. The library would remain at this location for almost 60 years. Mrs. Lindsay retired October 14, 1943. Anna Kathryn Heisel became Empire’s librarian in 1944, a post she would hold for the next 30 years. Read more of the history here.


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