They’ve driven past the site for months, watching and waiting for the day they could wander through the stacks.
This last weekend, the doors to the new Old Town Newhall Library opened for a gala reception, followed by an afterschool gathering for educators in the SCV Monday. On Saturday, the doors will open after a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the City Council and everyone will be invited to escape into the land of books.
That is, if you want to. The new library features so much more than the printed word, the buzz at the teachers’ reception was that they were looking forward to doing some “hanging out” in the spacious rooms, including a corner fireplace room with couches and comfy chairs.
All the city needs is a coffeehouse nearby and your rainy Saturday afternoon is made.
Stepping through the glass doors, a community room to provide meeting space for local groups beckons. The room’s best feature – a mural of stagecoach drivers barreling across the desert that was saved after its original home in the historic Pardee House was moved to Heritage Junction down the street – beckons, drawing people in to see more art on the walls, which will rotate and change artists periodically.
Former Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurie Ender (left) takes a tour at Friday’s fundraiser for the Friends of the Library.
The new 30,000 square foot Old Town Newhall Library offers more than 135,000 literary items, 68 public use computers, private study spaces, and meeting rooms. Gamers will be able to play their favorite video games in the lounge, or take advantage of study rooms to get ahead on their homework.
Kids are welcomed to the reading area by a larger-than-life Howdy cowboy mural. Inside the children’s area are reading circle areas and an artist’s interpretation of Beale’s Cut featuring the library’s tower. A centerpiece staircase wall is lined with huge prints of historical pictures, including the first constable’s office, steam engines that chugged through the area, a lone figure standing outside the local saloon, Newhall Hardware, Beale’s Cut and the first Newhall Elementary School.
Members of the Friends of the Santa Clarita Library and library employees were on hand Monday to help familiarize the visitors, who spent a lot of time ooh-ing and aaah-ing over the panoramic views and the huge collection of all sorts of materials, from books to DVDs to video games, magazines, graphic novels, newspapers and music.
Library users will also be able to check out laptop computers, to augment the desktop systems available throughout the library. The Children’s Area is home to computers featuring early literacy software. WiFi is available at all libraries, including the new branch at the corner of Lyons and Newhall Avenues.
A short line formed near the desk where library staff was issuing commemorative library cards with a picture of the new building on the front. Apparently good teachers already have library cards.
The public will be able to enjoy the new library at the Grand Opening at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when the council will cut the ribbon in front of the building, followed by a street fair with a literary emphasis that will continue until 4 p.m.
“The new Old Town Newhall Library will become a central part of our City offering a variety of resources for residents of all ages,” said Ferry. “The library will provide a range of educational and cultural activities, social programs and free services that will engage all community members.”
The street fair will features 25 booths featuring authors, games, activities, music, giveaways, and food trucks. Activities will include two stages with readings from authors including children’s books, western historical books and cookbooks, as well as tours of the Walk of Western Stars with information on the various western legends, tables to play word games, and tours of Old Town Newhall.
Local artist Tyzbir Idelle will bring a temporary public art sculpture to the event, a chair called “For the Love Of Books,” a seven-foot high reading chair made from cooks and a mobile with current and future reading options as well as those for low vision readers. Tyzbir is looking for readers to volunteer and take 15-minute shifts, reading aloud from their favorite book. She is looking for both adults and children to be readers. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Local businesses joining the celebration include: Brave New World, OutWest, Whole Foods, Chick-fil-A, Ice Station Valencia, Barnes & Noble, Costco, OTNA, Canyon Theatre Guild, Repertory East Playhouse, and Art Tree among others.