A few thousand people turned out Saturday morning to see what had been under wraps for so long and invaded the Old Town Newhall Library at the corner of Lyons Avenue and Main Street, excited to see what each area had to offer.
After a few speeches (it was blistering hot in the sun) by locals, including Rabbi Mark Blazer who recalled his cousin Billy’s start in the surf shop business across the street and other family members working or conducting commerce near Lyons Avenue and Main Street and Mayor Frank Ferry, who lauded the efforts of library workers and community members who came out in support of the project, the red ribbon was cut and the neighbors flooded in.
To say there were squeals of delight doesn’t begin to describe it. There was running and wide-eyed excitement at every turn. Oversized historic photographs were oohed and aahed over, commemorative library cards became precious bounty in the hands of the visitors of all ages and staff members were overwhelmed with questions and comments.
It was a good thing, this new library.
City Librarian Ed Kieczykowski did a lot of smiling as he gazed over the crowd.
“To me, it means a lot, but to the community I think it means more. Basically, it provides much more space than they had before,” he said. “They had a very small, a very crowded library. It provides a place for the whole community to gather, there are places for people to study, to meet, to check out laptops. I think it provides a lot of resources for the community.”Ferry escorted his mother around the building, introducing her to community members and beaming his own approval of the project.
“I’m so proud of our city staff, our city council members, our architects and design groups. This was a two year process. Two years ago, the City of Santa Clarita made a commitment to its community that we could do a better job with our library services. It wasn’t that the county wasn’t doing a good job, but the county, due to budget cuts and the recession, they had to start pulling back, they closed days, they had to lessen the hours. That’s just not acceptable in the city of Santa Clarita, especially when our schools have the highest test scores in the state. So the City said look, we know we can do a great job. We took over the libraries and one of our first things was to make a commitment to build this Old Town Newhall Library for $26 million,” he said.
Along with the throngs of kids, those responsible for many young minds joined in nodding their approval and started making plans.
“I can see us working out so maybe one day a week, we’ll walk the kids here,” said Jim Ventress, Chief Professional Officer of the SCV Boys and Girls Club, which has a facility a few blocks up Newhall Avenue.
The Old Town Newhall Library is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.santaclaritalibrary.com.