Several librarians, Adopt A Shelf and wi-fi are all components that will make this library a “hub of the community.”
By Mary O’KEEFE
The new La Crescenta Library is scheduled to have its grand opening on Jan. 29 and volunteers and library staff have been busily working for several weeks to prepare for the building’s debut.
“I am thrilled. I can hardly wait to start booking meetings there. It will be the center of town, the hub of the community,” said Danette Erickson, Crescenta Valley Town Councilmember and a member of the Library Committee.
The librarian manager Marta Wiggins has been meeting with the Friends of the Library, the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley and other community organizations in preparation for the opening.
“This is the first new facility I have opened and in fact that is one of the reasons I applied for the position,” Wiggins said.
She has worked in small and large facilities but likes the open space of the new La Crescenta facility. The library has many open areas and plenty of places for visitors to sit quietly to read. The building is also wired for the Internet.
“We have 10 computers for adult [use] and 10 for children,” Wiggins said.
In older buildings, like the former La Crescenta Library, there were only two Internet outlets that computer users had to plug into.
“That is just how older buildings are, but here you can bring in your laptop and use the wi-fi,” she added.
There will be a librarian for each segment of user: children, teens and adults. Wiggins said the professional staff would be able to focus on what the community needs and wants.
A community room will be able to house local meetings and Wiggins hopes it will be a central meeting place for many organizations.
The library has been a long time coming for Crescenta Valley residents. For almost 10 years Erickson has been a part of the push for a new library.
She remembered that in 2001 Supervisor Michael Antonovich had approached her at an installation meeting of the CV Town Council. He had been made aware of a request for a new facility from the Friends of the Library.
Due to a great librarian, Vicky Guagliardo and a user-friendly community, the old library was one of the most used in the system but ranked near the bottom in size and facilities, Erickson said.
“It has been a long time coming and a lot of hard work,” said Tony Bell, Antonovich spokesman.
The supervisor formed a library committee and together with other members of the community looked at several plans. The designs went back to the drawing board several times before the final plan was approved.
“It was a collaborative effort,” Bell said of those who worked on making the library a reality.
The library has already sparked interest throughout the community and Wiggins is learning about the area one volunteer at a time.
“We put a call out for volunteers. I expected about 24, I planned for 40 and over 70 showed up,” she said.
In the days that followed over 100 more applications from volunteers came in. Wiggins is going through those applications now and will be contacting those that applied.
“We will need technical volunteers to help with computers, and greeters to help direct visitors to the library. We will also have Adopt A Shelf where volunteers will help keep that area of the library organized and clean,” she said.
The public is invited to an unofficial opening on Jan. 16. Wiggins said this would be a time when her staff can see what works and what other programs may be needed. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 29.
County and community officials will be present and visitors will be allowed to tour the facility. Later in the evening the Historical Society of Crescenta Valley will unveil the historical plaque they have dedicated to the history of the area.
“The plaque is of three individuals that represent the three ages of humanity. Toy Purina was a shaman from a local [Native American tribe], Don Jose Verdugo and Dr. Benjamin Briggs,” said Mike Lawler, president of the historical society.
Descendents of all three historical individuals are scheduled to be present at the plaque unveiling.