Malibu Library grand opening set for Earth Day

The $6 million renovation of the library has taken two years. The grand opening ceremony Sunday will feature live music and entertainment, local authors, children’s activities, story time and interactive exhibits.

By Homaira Shifa / Special to The Malibu Times

After undergoing a two-year long, $6 million renovation, the City of Malibu and Los Angeles County will host the Malibu Library’s Grand Opening Celebration this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The new LEED-certified library will be open seven days per week and has been designed to represent Malibu’s sand, sea and sun culture, using the Malibu Pier as the central theme.

The Malibu Library was built in 1970, but after 40 years of neglect it desperately needed a makeover. Funds materialized in 2004 when Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich and former Councilmember Sharon Barovsky discovered that nearly a half million dollars Malibu had been paying in property taxes per year was not being spent on services within the city, but was going to other areas of the county’s library system. While surrounding communities have built new libraries, Malibu’s library had had no work of any kind since it opened in 1970.

With input from the Library Task Force and the Friends of the Library, the Malibu Library Improvement project began to take shape. On Sunday, the spiffy new building will debut with a dedication ceremony at 11 a.m. featuring elected officials as well as actors Pierce Brosnan and Dick Van Dyke.

One of the featured exhibits, donated by local developer Steve Soboroff, will showcase several typewriters previously owned by historical luminaries including John Lennon, Ernest Hemingway, Joe DiMaggio, George Bernard Shaw and Andy Rooney, among others. Guests will have the opportunity to use the typewriters by making donations to benefit Malibu High School and the Emily Shane Foundation.

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Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the new Malibu Library will offer digitally downloadable books, e-books, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, designated computers for adults and teens, Wi-Fi, and Nintendo Wii and Xbox systems.

“The Internet compliments libraries, but does not replace them,” Malibu’s Media Information Officer Olivia Damavandi said.

The 12,800-square-foot library also pays homage to Malibu’s history. A replica of Malibu’s landmark lighthouse, once owned by silent film actress Pauline Frederick, doubles as the family restroom. The main lobby features a replica of the Adamson House tile Persian rug and a photographic exhibit featuring historical images of Malibu.

Malibu’s equestrian culture is represented in the enlarged 100-person community room that opens to an outdoor patio. The community room is fully equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and will be available for use by the community.

The new Teen area and Teen study room features a surfing theme. Teen visitors will be able to use the Wii and Xbox systems and work on their own designated computers.

A new children’s area includes an 8×14 porcelain tile mural designed by artist Christine Nguyen. The uniquely designed children’s furniture showcases marine animals.

The library will be filled with natural light from three skylights and a wall of glass.

The iconic Malibu Pier mounted on the ceiling leads visitors to the new outdoor reading patio, amphitheater and a wind sail structure with views overlooking Legacy Park. The reading garden has been designed so it can be open to library visitors during the day, and then open to the community via the parking lot during nonlibrary hours.

The City Council recently approved additional funding for services to enhance library programs. A new teen librarian will join the library manager and children’s librarian. A special speaker series program will provide at least six guest speakers per year, and the library will work with Pepperdine University to provide collaborative programming.

At noon, the party shifts to Legacy Park for an Earth Day eco-fair with educational booths on topics ranging from recycling and composting to water quality and conservation. Malibu Country Mart shopping center is also hosting an Earth Day celebration from 1-1:30 p.m. to dedicate a new green play area.

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