Library to close June 1 for renovation

Services will be available online and at a county building next to the existing library.

By Olivia Damavandi / Assistant Editor

After 40 years of neglect, the Malibu Public Library will undergo a year-long, $5.67 million renovation starting June 1 that will transform it into a state-of-the-art facility.

The library renovation, which has been in the works for years, is funded by $5.2 million dollars returned to Malibu from the Los Angeles County Library District for library fees already paid by Malibu residents. The remaining $500,000 in construction costs is expected to come from tax-deductible donations from the community. The Malibu Library Fundraising Taskforce is currently working to raise the last $500,000 needed for the renovation, which will be used for solar panels.

“We appreciate the dedication of the volunteers serving on the Malibu Library Fundraising Task Force and urge the community to join us in creating an environmentally friendly new facility where residents and visitors alike can enjoy the pleasure of reading and find the information they need for school and work,” Malibu Mayor Jefferson Wagner said in a written statement. “The library renovation continues the city’s commitment to the environment by using the latest and best in green technology, from energy efficient windows to the solar panels the donations will help fund.”

The project is the result of an uproar that took place 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 has had no work of any kind since it opened in 1970.

On May 16 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Malibu Public Library will be hosting an open house to give members of the community an opportunity to see the plans for the new renovated library.

The library renovation will be the city’s first project to meet the rigorous environmentally sustainable design, construction and operation standards required to obtain certification from the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program-a green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The renovation will include a new children’s area, teen services area, group study room, seating, teen computers, kitchen, copy center, story time nook and Friends of the Library Book Store. The community room will be enlarged and remodeled, and the lobby will be redesigned and decorated with Malibu tiles, similar to those of the historical Adamson House. Murals on the walls will recount Malibu’s history, and an outdoor reading garden and patio will be connected via a walkway to the adjacent Legacy Park-a stormwater and urban runoff project scheduled to be completed this September.

The existing library is expected to reopen in September 2011. During construction, library services will continue to be available online. In addition, limited temporary library services will be available at the county building that is adjacent to the existing library.

Aside from minimal changes to its interior design, the 16,530-square-foot library has physically remained unchanged since it was built in 1970. It currently offers an adult reading area; a children’s area; a meeting room with a 125-person capacity; adult and children reference and readers’ advisory; toddler and preschool story times; summer reading programs for older children; a coin-operated copy machine; a word processor; and public access Internet computers.

Donors may send their tax-deductible contributions to the City of Malibu Library Renewal Project, 23815 Stuart Ranch Rd., Malibu, CA 90265-4861.

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