Public Invited To Topping Ceremony For New Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library

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Mayor Robert Garcia, Councilmembers Rex Richardson and Al Austin and the Departments of Library Services and Public Works invite the public to a topping ceremony for the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, on Saturday, March 12, at 11:30 am. The original spire from the former Atlantic Theatre will “top” the new library building. The ceremony will be visible from the vacant lot on 59th Street and Atlantic Avenue, across the street from the construction site.

“Libraries help us reach higher,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “So it’s fitting that the spire will continue to be a landmark and symbol atop our newest library.”

The new 24,655-square-foot single-story facility will have three separate community meeting rooms, a community patio, a storytime space, displays for artwork, an expanded children’s library and separate library areas for teens and adults. The building will feature artistic glass walls and green foliage to face residences on Lime Avenue, and incorporate a reproduction of the former Atlantic Theatre’s iconic tower into a glass roof accenting the children’s section. The original spire, which has been refurbished, will be placed atop the tower.

“The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library will be a tremendous resource for the entire community,” said Councilmember Al Austin. “The library will be a state-of-the-art, LEED-certified building that will be a catalyst for further economic development. It will have something for everyone.”

The current North Library, located nearby at 5571 Orange Ave., was built in 1951 and, at only 6,800 square feet, was designed to serve a population of 25,000. One of the City’s smaller libraries, it serves the largest population of all the neighborhood libraries in Long Beach: 90,000 people who speak 13 languages, as well as 17 schools.

“The spire from the Atlantic Theatre provides a historical linkage to the architecture of the period and our community’s history,” said Councilmember Rex Richardson. “With the spire topping off the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, we take another important step in the Uptown Renaissance and the completion of our wonderful new library.”

The library will feature cutting-edge technology such as a makerspace, Wi-Fi, computers, self-checkout kiosks, an automated book return and sorting system, and 3D printing, along with enhanced technology services for disabled residents.

It is located on former Redevelopment Agency (RDA)-owned property (the same site as the former Atlantic Theatre), and is scheduled to open in late summer this year. The $17 million project is funded through a variety of sources, including American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Bonds issued by the former RDA, Upland Oil Funds and one-time funds approved by the City Council.

Long Beach Public Library, founded in 1896, serves a diverse urban city of close to half a million people. The Long Beach Public Library system includes Main Library, eleven other unique Neighborhood Libraries and a vibrant online presence. With an emphasis on providing free and equal access to information and support for lifelong-learning, the Library offers books, media, downloads, databases, Internet access, Family Learning Centers and a variety of events ranging from story times to cultural programs.

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