File photo.

A topping off ceremony will be held this Saturday for Long Beach’s newest and biggest neighborhood branch library, which was recently named the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library after a vote from the city council last month.

The ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, March 12 at 11:30AM and will be visible from the from a vacant lot on 59th Street and Atlantic Avenue, across the street from the construction site. Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmen Al Austin and Rex Richardson are scheduled to attend. 

As part of the event, workers will use the original spire from the former Atlantic Theatre to top the new library building.

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

The library, slated to open this summer, boasts a 24,655-square-foot, single-story facility with three separate community meeting rooms, a community patio, storytime space, displays for artwork, an expanded children’s library and separate library areas for teens and adults, city officials stated.

“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,” according to a release from the city. “The original spire, which has been refurbished, will be placed atop the tower.”


Construction of the building, housed on the former site of the Atlantic Theater, began in October 2014. It will replace the current 6,800-square-foot North Library which was built in 1951 and designed to serve a population of 25,000.

“The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library will be a tremendous resource for the entire community,” said Austin in a statement. “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.”

Officials stated the current library is one of the city’s smaller libraries and serves the largest population of all the neighborhood libraries in the city. The area includes 17 schools and 90,000 people who speak 13 languages.

“The spire from the Atlantic Theatre provides a historical linkage to the architecture of the period and our community’s history,” said Richardson in a statement. “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.”

Some of the library’s hi-tech features will include Wi-Fi, computers, self-checkout kiosks, an automated book return and sorting system, 3D printing and enhanced technology services for disabled residents.

The project is said to cost $17 million and is funded through through American Recovery & Reinvestment Act bonds, Upland Oil Funds and one-time funds approved by the city council.

Stephanie Rivera is the community engagement editor. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter at @StephRivera88.