At the private preview of the library renovation on Thursday Feb. 18, there were two perspectives on time. Some people thought the library renovation had gone by quickly and some thought it had taken much longer than they thought it should have. Co-Presidents of the Culver City Friends of the Library, Nancy Kuechle and Elaine Hirohama, both agreed that they were very glad the time was over, and that the library was ready to re-open.
“This all began, as you may recall. with the idea that we needed some new furniture,” Kuechle offered during her address to the guests at the reception. “The money from the book sales – used books for a dollar each- was what we had saved up through the years to get new furniture. What we got ended up being a lot more than that.” With Los Angeles County stepping in to help support a major upgrade, the library is now much more able to meet the needs of the city and be a place where community connects.
Touring through the renovated building showed how much more. New light fixtures, lots of new computers – even a ‘lap top locker’ to check out laptops – new self -checkout stations, a beautifully refurbished children’s section, a teen seating station, a ‘quiet’ room, and of course, the book sale room, already stocked with used books for sale.
Council members Jim Clarke and Meghan Sahli-Wells were on hand to present a commendation from the city, and their own personal take on the venerable library and the future. Sahli-Wells spoke from her heart, saying that her “children had really grown up here, from the time they were toddlers to being teens, this place has been a great part of our community, and I’m so happy to see the doors open again.” Clarke spoke to how the library would be a part of the Centennial celebration, with a ‘Culver City Reads’ event featuring “West of Sunset” by Stewart O’Nan.
Laura Frakes and Joan Mead were every bit as pleased as the boosters and the council members, and looking forward to ‘moving back in’ to the freshly beautified building.
Keuchle underscored the theme of the evening when she said “A library is much more than books.” Many of the people who walked through the stacks and the computer stations praising the renovation were the very ones who had brought it into being. Hirohama joked, “You see what happens when you start with new furniture?” Another veteran of toddler storytime and volunteer book sales began to quote, ” When You Give a Mouse a Cookie…”
Also noted was the delightful solar array covering the center spaces on the parking lot, allowing the building to create power for lighting and computers. Bike racks are available out front by the new yellow sign. But it might be best to walk there – what has been empty for a long time will soon be happily crowded.