The Hercules Public Library was conceived to be landmark public building, a welcoming community-gathering place, and a functional, efficient vessel of knowledge and exploration in a fast growing and highly diverse community on the north end of San Francisco Bay. Sited on a raised plinth of land overlooking a strip ‘big box’ retail center on the edge od residential suburban sprawl, the library is a highly visible glazed beacon of glass and color visible from the freeway. The building’s variegated ‘ tapestry-like’ skin of vertical brick plate cladding is punctuated by a large fritted glass corner window that illuminates the reading room. This window offers long views and positions the library as a place of public pride in the grassy rolling hills that surround it. Architecturally inspired by the massive abode walled, tile roofed Spanish missions of 16th Century California and the contemplative garden courtyard tradition of Asian homes, the library celebrates the diverse ethnic roots of the community. A large elliptically shaped garden courtyard, with its mounded moss and singular magnolia tree, is the visible and accessible from the heart of the building. This quiet seating area offers a wind sheltered oasis carefully calibrated to catch the winter sun. Computer labs, community meeting rooms, study hall spaces and a tall midnight blue ‘story cone’ provide an environment of welcome and discovery for users of all ages.