Rendering of the upcoming North Branch Library. Image courtesy of the City of Long Beach.
It’s been four years in the making and not without a few bumps in the road, but the groundbreaking for the New North Branch Library is finally a date set in stone: this upcoming Saturday.
"The new North Library is extremely important, because Long Beach Public Library services are both more popular and more necessary than ever," Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. "Investing in our libraries is an investment in education and lifelong learning, and supporting education is the best investment we can make in our community's future."
The new, $17M library was 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. The structure—part of the overhaul of the historic stretch of Atlantic Ave.—will be a state-of-the-art 24,655-square-foot single-story facility with many amenities including a 3,800 square-foot community center divided into three variable spaces for gatherings both large and small, not to mention a community patio, a story time theater space, artwork displays and an expanded children’s library and separate library areas for teens and adults. The exterior design will include a “green screen” of vertically built plant material on walls facing residences and a re-envisioned version of the Atlantic Theater tower. Artistic glass walls and a glass roof accenting the children’s sections will also be major design highlights.
"The Uptown Renaissance continues with the new North Library," Councilmember Rex Richardson said in a statement. "The new North Library will increase the quality of life for community members, and increase civic engagement by giving residents of North Long Beach more space to gather, share new ideas, and meet and interact with one another."
The current North Library, located nearby at 5571 Orange Ave., was built in 1951 and is only 6,800 square feet. One of the City's smaller libraries, it serves the largest population of all the neighborhood libraries in Long Beach. The new North Library will be four times the size of the current branch, its collection will double in size and will offer four times more computer workstations and an enhanced Family Learning Center.
"The new North Library will enable more people to access the information they need and desire," Councilmember Al Austin said in a statement. "The larger facility will also facilitate increased programs and services to the entire community, including children, families, teens, adults and seniors."
The new North Branch Library will feature cutting edge technology such as a makerspace, self-checkout kiosks, an automated book return and sorting system, and 3D printing, along with enhanced technology services for disabled residents, currently available only at the Main Library.
"As more information is delivered via computers, smart phones, and other electronic devices, our community needs the ability to discover, comprehend and present content across various media," said Glenda Williams in a statement, Director of Library Services. "Enhancing technology at the new North Library will provide more opportunities to patrons of North Library to develop these skills for the 21st Century."
The project has been designed to incorporate many energy-efficiency and water conservation measures in order to achieve LEED Silver Certification. The design will improve indoor air quality for inhabitants and reduce consumption of resources.
A North Branch Library construction community meeting will take place on Thursday, October 23 from 6PM to 7PM at Houghton Park Community Center on 6301 Myrtle Ave., where the public is welcome to attend and provide insights and commentary about the project.
The library is expected to be completed in mid-2016.
This groundbreaking takes place this Saturday, October 25 at 10:00AM, located at 5870 Atlantic Ave., join Mayor Robert Garcia, 9th District Councilmember, Rex Richardson and the Departments of Library Services and Public works to celebrate this much anticipated step toward a brand new library. The general manager and construction management team will be present for the discussion. For more information, please call 562-570-7500.