$6 million Malibu Library opened to the public last weekend on Earth Day. About 500 people watched as hundreds of butterflies were released into the air and special guests Pierce Brosnan and Dick Van Dyke spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
By Homaira Shifa / Special to The Malibu Times
Hundreds of butterflies were released into the sky last Sunday as Mayor Laura Rosenthal and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky cut the ribbon to officially open the doors to Malibu’s newly renovated library, celebrating Earth Day on April 22.
“Today you are witnessing a metamorphosis,” said Malibu City Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who led the charge to renovate the library. “We have a cocoon here that’s about to be released. This is a metamorphosis of our library. This library will be a beacon of light for all of you that honors our past, inspires the present, and leaves a legacy of love of reading and love of learning for the future.”
The newly renovated, sustainable and LEED-certified library represents Malibu’s sand, sea and sun culture. The remodel of the library began in 2004 and cost $6 million to complete. Approximately 500 people of all ages showed up to celebrate the joyous occasion, including newly elected Councilmembers Joan House, John Sibert and Skylar Peak. Pierce Brosnan and Dick Van Dyke were among the special guest speakers.
Brosnan recited “If” by Rudyard Kipling, a poem his late father used to recite to him.
He said he is proud to be there to celebrate the “true importance of literature and books and to say thank you to so many people who have made this library possible.”
“It takes courage and passion day after day to fight for what is right in the community,” Brosnan said. “To listen with hearts and compassion to the needs of your fellow citizens and to do good things by them.”
Van Dyke told the crowd that his prize possession as a child was his library card and that this new library is “sensational.”
Mayor Rosenthal thanked all the people who helped make the library possible and said the library is “much more than a structure just filled with books.”
“Investing in libraries is an investment in education and lifelong learning as well as community involvement,” Rosenthal said. “A library is a place where we can move apart from the noise of our very over-busy lives and study in quietude, peace and comfort.”
Yaroslavsky presented a book, “The History of Surfing,” by Matt Warshaw to Mayor Rosenthal to add to the library collection, and called libraries a place where information can be found and information is power.
The grand opening of the library featured several different activities, including a chance for visitors to meet with local authors such as Leslie Klinger, Katie Arnoldi, Dolores Rivellino, Leigh McCloskey and Ben Marcus, among many others. It also had a typewriter exhibition that showcased typewriters previously owned by George Bernard Shaw, Ray Bradbury, Joe DiMaggio, Ernest Hemingway, John Lennon, Andy Rooney and Theodore Kacznski. Other library activities included an interactive art project, children’s storyteller, face painter and a chance to get a library card.
Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the new library offers digitally downloadable books, e-books, state-of-the-art audio/visual equipment, designated computers for adults and teens, Wi-Fi, and Nintendo Wii and Xbox systems.
The 12,800-square-foot library also includes a replica of Malibu’s landmark lighthouse, once owned by silent film actress Pauline Frederick, as well as a replica of the Adamson House Persian rug tile and a photographic exhibit featuring historical images of Malibu in the main lobby. An enlarged 100-person community room opens to an outdoor reading patio where a wind sail structure overlooks Legacy Park. A new children’s area includes an 8×14 porcelain tile mural designed by artist Christine Nguyen.
The library will be filled with natural light from three skylights and a wall of glass.
“This is so cool,” “so pretty,” and “beautiful, really beautiful,” were just a few of the comments people were overheard making as they entered the renovated library for the first time.
An Earth Day festival was also held across the street at Legacy Park with educational booths, native plant sale, live animals, and food vendors.
The Malibu Farmers Market was ongoing next to the library, where vendors were selling fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and food.
The library reopens after almost eight years of renovations.
“May it always be filled with the sound of laughter, words of great poetry and music,” Brosnan said.