National Register of Historic Places in Alameda County
The main Berkeley Public Library is the work of James W. Plachek, locally prominent and versatile architect who almost single-handedly shaped downtown Berkeley and its civic center in the period between the World Wars.
The library is Berkeley's finest example of Zig Zag Moderne, with the combination of modern materials, economy of construction, and artistic distinction that characterize the style at its best. It is the more notable for its setting in a group of stylistically similar buildings, its excellent state of preservation, and its trend-setting 1975 restoration.
The community support which allowed it to be built during the Depression attracted widespread notice, and represents a Berkeley tradition of support for libraries, from Shattuck family donations of 1895 and 1905 to the special library tax overwhelmingly passed by voters in 1980.