Library Information

What Will It Cost?

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The estimated costs for the new library break into two categories:

-- Cost to build the new library
-- On-going operating costs

Cost to Build the New Library

Total costs of construction are broken into three areas: construction costs, soft costs, and furnishings.  Together they represent the total estimated costs of the project.

Construction costs include the necessary rework to existing space and the construction of the new extension. They include mechanical, plumbing, data and electrical systems, and all exterior work including landscaping and lighting.

Detailed engineering studies to determine heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, and other major systems do not take place until final approval is received. So all cost estimates are based on rules of thumb for similar type buildings.

New construction including site work is estimated at between $400 and $500 per square foot. Reworking existing space is estimated at between $150 and $200 per square foot.

Under these assumptions, the total construction cost for the project would be in the range of $8 to $10 million.

Soft costs primarily include design and architecture fees and the cost to obtain permits. This category includes the work that has already been performed on the project including the cost of the environmental impact report and design work performed thus far. The total soft costs for the project are estimated at $3 million dollars.

Furnishings is the cost to purchase new technology equipment, work stations, furniture, tables and chairs, and any other equipment needed for the expanded library. This cost is estimated at $1 million.

Adding these three estimates together gives a $12 - $14 million dollar estimate for the total project. We hope to be able to complete the project at the lower end of the range. The higher number is included to account for the possibility of higher material and labor costs in the future as well as for other contingencies. 

On-going Operating Costs

The library budget for the current fiscal year (2012-2013) projects operating costs of $1,952,231. We don’t know exactly when the new library will be constructed, or how cash receipts and expenditures for the existing library will have changed by then. So, to make a fair comparison, here’s an estimate of how library operating costs would change if the new library were to open today.

For the new library, annual operating costs would be expected to increase by $218,092. While increases are forecast in all categories of operating expenses, most of the increase is in personnel cost. We anticipate hiring a Manager of Technology & Training, a part-time building maintenance person, and increasing the Teen Librarian position from part-time to full-time.

Here’s a table that provides more detail on the costs.


Current Budget

New Library






Books & Materials




Technology Services












Audit & Legal








One may question how a large proposed expansion can be adequately staffed by a relatively small increase in personnel.

There are several reasons for this. First, the severe space constraints in our current library have created substantial inefficiencies. The new floor plans have been carefully designed to make work flows much more efficient.

Second, the vast majority of the added space is to create more room for our patrons. For example, a larger children’s area accommodates many more children for story hour but doesn’t require any more story tellers. Also, the addition of self-service units for checking out books reduces staff workload.

The new building will be designed to be as energy-efficient as possible, helping to limit increases in utility costs.

We expect several factors to at least partially offset the projected increase in operating costs. Based on current projections from Tiburon and Belvedere town management, rising collections from local property taxes will likely increase our cash receipts by approximately $136,000. We expect that the remaining deficit of about $82,000 would be covered by a grant from the Library Foundation.

In addition to expected distributions from the endowment fund and the annual fund, the Foundation anticipates that sales from Corner Books will increase substantially. With a larger space in the expanded facility, greater foot traffic and lower overhead costs, the Foundation reasonably projects that net sales will increase.

Fund Raising

The Belvedere -Tiburon Library Foundation supports the library through fundraising events and private philanthropy. The Foundation expects to raise the funds necessary to expand the library through private donations.

A capital campaign will not begin until after project approval by Town Council. However, the Foundation has already received numerous generous gifts to support the expansion effort, some of which were earmarked for and have been used to underwrite the soft costs noted above.

Construction of the addition to the library will not begin until all of the needed funds have been committed. Although we cannot know with certainty how long it will take to raise the funds, the Foundation leadership estimates the process will take at least three years.