Councilmember Richardson to Request Council Name New North Library the “Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library”

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9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson

9th District Councilmember Rex Richardson

On Tuesday, December 22, 2015, Councilmember Rex Richardson will ask his city council colleagues to consider naming North Long Beach’s new library after First Lady Michelle Obama.

Slated to open in the summer of 2016, the proposed “Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library” will be the largest neighborhood branch library in the city and serve as state-of-the-art focal point for North Long Beach. The 25,000 square foot facility will offer educational opportunities, such as an expanded children’s library, a story time theater space, and community center with spaces for large and small gatherings.

“Our state-of-the-art library will be a source of pride and a major focal point of our Uptown Renaissance,” said Councilmember Richardson. “But, we miss the mark if we don’t connect with and inspire our youth to reach higher towards their goals through literacy and enrichment.”

The Ninth District Council Office was initially approached by youth from Jordan High School to consider naming the library after First Lady Michelle Obama, and has since reached out to other youth focused groups in North Long Beach. In addition, the naming of the library after First Lady Michelle Obama has support from ten neighborhood association presidents and numerous community leaders, including former Ninth District Councilmember Steven Neal and Long Beach Unified School District Board Member Megan Kerr.

“I’m thrilled at the idea of naming the North Library after First Lady Michelle Obama, a product of public schools, who studied hard and earned degrees at Princeton and Harvard Law School,” stated Councilmember Richardson.

While initial outreach has been strong, Councilmember Richardson is also asking the Library Services Department and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine to conduct further outreach.

“The First Lady is a figure who shares many similarities with the youth of North Long Beach and is a shining example of who they can become with hard work and a dedication to their education. But, the first step is to initiate a fair, consensus-building process with our youth, library patrons, and community in the weeks to come,” remarked Councilmember Richardson.

The “Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library” would be a historic first for Long Beach as the only library in the city named after a person of color. With successful passage, Councilman Richardson will extend an invitation to the First Lady to be a part of the library’s opening.

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