New Main Library on Schedule to Open in the Summer

Joseph Baroud

The Main Library in downtown Long Beach is in the process of relocating as part of the Civic Center project which includes the relocation of City Hall because both buildings have been discovered to contain seismic deficiencies in their current locations.

These deficiencies were found in a 2006 inspection of the building by TMAD Taylor and Gaines, who are structural mechanical electrical and civil engineers. The deficiencies would cause these two buildings to collapse in case of a seismic event. Instead of paying, what the city projected in 2014 to be $194 million, they decided to move the two sites to another location.

Plenary-Edgemoor Civic Partners or PECP is the development team that was chosen to be assigned the responsibility of creating the design and constructing the new library. Regardless of the design, the library will be a location that provides the community with resources and helps them achieve their educational goals.

PECP has a development team and a design-build team. The development team is comprised of: the Plenary Group who are long-term investors developers and operators with 20 projects across the nation, and Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate who developed the new Deukmejian Courthouse here in Long Beach.

The design-build team is made up of various small designer and building groups that include Clark Construction, SOM, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, KSM Architecture Inc., Bennitt Design Group and Linda Demmers. This group of designers and builders have a reputation of being stable, large contractors, award-winning designers and have had a hand in planning and designing over 150 libraries.

“The design was based on the expertise of a library consultant, Linda Demmers, working with Skidmore, Owens, Merill (SOM) the architects that are part of the PECP team,” Glenda Williams, the director of library services said. “Just like the current Main Library, the new building needs to be a city-wide resource, as well as the neighborhood library for downtown Long Beach residents. We exist to help people meet their educational and personal goals, from babies to seniors.”

 PECP is going to be responsible for financing the new building. The city of Long Beach will provide all of the technology inside. Once the building is finished, the city will then lease the building from PECP. The city will begin paying them once the library is handed over to them, subsequent to construction. The city will also give PECP the land that will remain after the demolition of City Hall.

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is also raising funds for extra resources inside and more educational opportunities for kids and teenagers. Their goal is to raise $3 million to support all of the programs it will offer and provide enhancement all around. This will include STEM based lessons focusing on things such as media production and 3D printing and plenty of more things.

“The LBPL Foundation is raising funds to enhance the new Main Library, “ Williams said. “The extra in the Kid Space includes the Rotary Story Theatre and Art Studio, special teen furniture, as well as the staffing for the Studio and the Expanded Family Learning Center are just some of the items the LBPL Foundation is providing.”

There will also be opportunities for adults to use resources and educate themselves as well. They will also provide veterans and people with disabilities assistance and accommodations. The library always provided these types of aid, but the new building and some help from the State’s library will provide more opportunities to provide a wider array of resources to people of the Long Beach community.

“We will focus on a few new services that are available with recent grants from the CA State Library that include adult literacy classes and immigration services,” Williams said. “We will continue providing assistance to veterans. The current Information Center for People with Disabilities will expand and have more computers for people with physical challenges; the name will change to The Center for Adaptive Technology. The offerings of The Studio will expand as well, due to additional funding from the LBPL Foundation.”

The library will keep the same staff. If you would like to help the library reach its fundraising goal, or for any other information, visit The library is set to open this summer and is so far on schedule to do so.


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