SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A Board of Supervisors committee voted unanimously on Monday against a landmark designation for the North Beach neighborhood library branch.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

The committee considered two hours of testimony from preservationists as well as North Beach, Telegraph Hill and Russian Hill residents, who far outnumbered those who supported landmark status for the decades-old structure.

“It probably served great as a library in the 1950s when we were just talking about books, it doesn’t serve so well now. In fact, it’s a really difficult library to work with and work in,” one woman lamented.

The San Francisco Public Library proposed a new library to replace the existing structure. Supporters said an entirely new structure would best serve families and the disabled.

“Why would we build on an ill-placed library? You build on good buildings, you don’t build on bad buildings,” one woman said. “And so I urge you not to landmark this.”

But preservationists were confident there was life left in the library.

“I ask you to look at the alternative of preserving an existing building,” argued one preservationist. “That’s what architects do, they can do that just as well as they can build new stuff.”

The subject library was among seven designed by the firm Appleton & Wolfard between 1951 and 1969.

“Let’s work together as a community to keep historic buildings out of landfills,” one woman offered a passionate plea. “There is more than one road to a new library.”

Ultimately, the committee declined to grant landmark status to the North Beach branch, but did support landmark status for another branch, in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood.

The full Board of Supervisors must still vote on the matter.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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