GLENDALE—The Glendale Central Library will re-open to the public Monday, May 1, after an extensive renovation which began in July 2015. The community will gather for a special ribbon cutting ceremony at 10a.m., followed by special programs all day long, including a Friends of the Glendale Public Library Author Faire from 12-7 p.m. Celebratory events will continue through the summer with performances, author events, a film series, and more.
The 21st century is a new era for libraries: many are reducing book collections and increasing electronic resources, while also creating more space for study areas, group collaboration, and cultural / educational gatherings. Among the newly-branded “Downtown Central” Library’s new features will be a second-floor reading spa, an increased number of small conference rooms and digital workstations, a fully-equipped auditorium with green room and new sound system, a MakerSpace, and Glendale’s own ReflectSpace.
The ReflectSpace is designed to explore and reflect on major human atrocities, genocides, and civil rights violations in an experiential and informative way. The inaugural exhibit will be Landscape of Memory: Witnesses and Remnants of Genocide. It is being designed by Ara Oshagan, co-creator with Levon Parian of the Grand Park iWitness exhibit.
As the Glendale Downtown Central Library has been “re-imagined” for this new era , I asked three newly-elected officials (each won office for the first time in the April 4, 2017 municipal election) to reflect on its significance to their new constituency.
Yvette Vartanian Davis, just elected to the Glendale Community College Board of Trustees as representative of Area 4, was born and raised in Glendale, graduated from Glendale High School, Glendale Community College, and USC. She has an accounting and business management firm (The Counting House) and has enthusiastically served on several local philanthropic boards. Davis says, “I’ve been a life-long user of the library. It’s an important resource for us. Glendale Library, Arts & Culture has designed a progressive space for the community to use and enjoy.
“It is the responsibility of elected officials to inform the community of the many library resources available free to the public! As a GCC Trustee, I would like to see students use the library’s free online books, research resources, and technology equipment to offset educational costs. The MakerSpace ties in with my priority of focusing on vocational training at GCC.
“Further, we should encourage civic engagement by partnering with the library to bring more great authors and forums to Glendale. I think visitors and residents alike will use the Library as a place for much more than just books. I love that it ties into the Arts & Entertainment District and the Downtown Glendale Business District with the MakerSpace, recording studio, 3-D printers, gallery space, and computing stations.”
Vrej Agajanian, just elected to Glendale City Council, has been a city resident for the past 34 years and is a California certified engineer. He’s also president of the Armenian Engineers and Scientists of America, has served on several local nonprofit boards, and operates two international TV broadcasting stations in Glendale.
Agajanian says his top priorities as a city council member are: “helping small and medium size businesses in Glendale, increasing affordable housing, protecting neighborhoods from over-development, and traffic and pedestrian safety.” He goes on to relate his own business mission to the library’s mission: “I have promoted civic engagement by informing the public through my TV programs for the past 18 years and I will continue to do so in my new role. I hope the renovated Downtown Central Library will encourage even more people to visit and be a boost for our city’s arts, culture, and education. This library is not just about books: it is a civic center with new technology-based educational tools for our diverse community.”
Shant Sahakian, life-long Glendale resident, graduate of Herbert Hoover High School and a Glendale Community College and Cal State Northridge alumnus, was just elected to the Glendale Unified School Board as District D representative. Sahakian participated in community life from a very young age, and has served on numerous local boards. He is currently serving on the City of Glendale Arts & Culture Commission, which works with the Library, Arts & Culture Department; he is also serving on the Armenian American Museum’s Development Committee and when that museum is built it will be directly next to the Downtown Central Library.
“I had the privilege of guest lecturing at Tumo Center in Yerevan and visiting Tumo Stepanakert in 2016 and immediately thought about the the value of free learning centers and what type of positive impact they can have back in Glendale. I’m excited for the renovated Downtown Central Library and its new MakerSpace, which includes many types of creative and digital tools and has more space for educational and enrichment programs that are going to benefit our students.
“Our youth succeed when they have easy access to high quality educational programs and opportunities in the classroom and beyond in the community. I’ve learned so much by becoming involved in civic life – and our library system is a valuable asset in that civic life.
“The Downtown Central Library renovation is going to help ensure it continues to be a vital community center and educational resource for our next generation. The renovations and the improvements to the surrounding streets and walkways will help attract many residents and visitors. I’m also excited for the synergy that will be created with the Library and Armenian American Museum sharing the same campus in the near future.”
Glendale has made a great investment in its library system, and these new leaders are investing themselves in building our civic future. Congratulations to all!
Come see Glendale’s new Downtown Central Library on opening day, May 1 (get the schedule for the day at glendalelac.org), and keep on visiting all the great Glendale library facilities that have so much to offer. You can sign up to get updates on author programs and events online. An overview of the renovation, a listing of programs and events for the next several months, and messages from library staff and key supporters are all printed in the April 2017 Friends of the Glendale Public Library newsletter (available at library locations and at friendsofglendalepubliclibrary.org).