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Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library opens its doors to the public

The library offers services such as 3D printing, homework help, and computer assistance.

About+2%2C000+people+gathered+to+support+the+grand+opening+of+the+Michelle+Obama+Neighborhood+Library+on+Saturday.
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Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library opens its doors to the public

About 2,000 people gathered to support the grand opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library on Saturday.

About 2,000 people gathered to support the grand opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library on Saturday.

Meghan McGillicuddy

About 2,000 people gathered to support the grand opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library on Saturday.

Meghan McGillicuddy

Meghan McGillicuddy

About 2,000 people gathered to support the grand opening of the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library on Saturday.

Elizabeth Campos, Staff Writer

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After decades of planning, a new branch of the Long Beach Public Library opened in north Long Beach on Saturday.

The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library’s grand opening was attended by Mayor Robert Garcia, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and city councilmember Al Austin II. The three cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony in front of an audience of community members.

Potting soil manufacturers Vermicrop Organics and hydroponic supplies retailers Greencoast Hydroponics donated the learning gardens located near the entrance of the library. The learning gardens are being used as an enhanced teaching tool for children and adults.

The library’s location used to be the site of the Atlantic Theatre, a cinema which opened in 1941. It then became the home of a Christian church in 1976, but was demolished in 2014. Now the site houses 3D printing services, conference rooms, a family learning center and more.

According to Richardson, Jordan High School students suggested naming the library after first lady Michelle Obama.

North Long Beach residents, including high school students and library foundation members voted on naming the library after Obama at a community meeting in January.

In his speech during the grand opening, Richardson referred to the first lady as someone who has done an incredible job for children and is considered an inspiring figure in the north Long Beach community.

Lawyer Smith, a volunteer for the grand opening, said that Obama is “such an influence on the youth that they would want a library named after her.”

The library, which is a 24,655 square-foot building, is now “a space by the people and for the people,” according to Richardson.

“To see the diversity of this community makes your heart a little warm,” Garcia said.

Both Richardson and Garcia thanked the Long Beach Public Library Foundation members for the unconditional support and fundraising for the library. The Long Beach Public Library Foundation reportedly raised $1 million, according to an article from the Long Beach Gazette.

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is an independent non-profit charitable organization that provides support to the Long Beach Public Library through private funds.

After cutting the ribbon, the doors opened for the hundreds of people who had gathered outside the premises since 10 a.m.

The library offers services such as the family learning center that will provide resume, computer and homework assistance to children and their families.

A family learning center is found at each of the Long Beach Public Library branches.

David Hedden, studio guide at the library and part-time lecturer at Cal State University Long Beach, explained that the family learning center is a space open to the public where people can learn about creative projects, software and graphic design.

The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library is the second facility in Long Beach to offer 3D printing services.

3D printing, which is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model by laying down thin layers of diverse materials is also offered at the Main Long Beach Public Library on Pacific Avenue.

Hedden said these technologies are typically very inaccessible to families within the community — this library hopes to change that.

“We get a lot of design students coming in to print their models out, testing them out before having to worry about the cost involved,” Hedden said.

Families gathered in front of the 3D printing mechanisms to understand how designs were made.

Attendants at the grand opening ceremony were allowed to explore the outdoor garden. The library plans to host gardening classes for anyone who is is interested.

Meghan McGillicuddy
Attendants at the grand opening ceremony were allowed to explore the outdoor garden. The library plans to host gardening classes for anyone who is is interested.

“Just from my experience today I already know that the community is very pleased and excited about attending and using all the things that the library has to offer,” Smith said.

The library is divided in sections such as a teen library, assistive technology services and a children’s library. Express checkout kiosks are also offered.

Wi-Fi is free for those who have a library card. The card provides the user with an ID number and PIN which can be used at all Long Beach Public Library branches.

The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, located at 5870 Atlantic Ave., will operate Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 7 p.m, Wednesday noon to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

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