Foundation raises $1 million for Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library

The Long Beach Public Library Foundation has announced it has raised over a million dollars for the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in north Long Beach. The announcement was made at Vice Mayor Rex Richardson’s State of the Ninth District event on Nov. 3.

At the event, the foundation’s executive director, Kate Azar, spoke about the important role that these additional funds will play in supporting the library and its programs, which were designed in response to the north Long Beach community’s needs. While the $1-million campaign included some large donations from individuals throughout Long Beach, the main goal of the campaign is to engage donors of any size to contribute and claim of piece of the new library’s legacy.

“The Long Beach Public Library Foundation invites the residents of north Long Beach to participate in this exciting campaign by making a donation of any size– whether five dollars or 500– to the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library,” says Azar. “Doing so will allow all of north Long Beach to be a part of this city’s legacy and ensure this library continues to serve north Long Beach for generations. Our sincerest thanks to all the library’s supporters. You should be very proud of this library.”

The State of the Ninth District was hosted in the community rooms at the new library and highlighted the numerous developments in north Long Beach’s “Road to Renaissance,” particularly along the Atlantic Corridor. The foundation participated in the evening’s presentation with a short video highlighting the significance of the new library as a cornerstone of the Uptown Renaissance and inviting the public to participate in its founding with contributions of any amount. The video can be viewed at http://bit.ly/MONL-video.

“The Long Beach Public Library Foundation is proud to have raised more than $1 million for the new Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library. These funds will go to enhance the library by supporting programs like the Family Learning Center and the new makerspace Studio,” said JP Shotwell, president of the board of directors of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. “We are so grateful for all of our founding donors– their commitment to this new library is both inspiring and much appreciated.”

The foundation’s campaign for the new library has been led by co-chairs Mary Hancock Hinds and Rick Alsagoff, both residents of north Long Beach, founding donors to the library and members of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation Board of Directors. They are joined in this next community-focused phase of the campaign by co-chairs Vice Mayor Rex Richardson and 8th District Councilmember Al Austin. The entire foundation board has donated funds to the library, as well as a number of generous Long Beach individuals and foundations, according to the foundation.

Founded in 1996, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that raises funds for all 12 of the Long Beach Public Libraries. The foundation’s mission is to provide support to enhance the Long Beach Public Library and encourage literacy and education for all members of the community.

The Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library opened on Sept. 10 on the site of the former Atlantic Theater. It is estimated that nearly 5,000 visitors attended the library that day, and the library has continued to see record attendance in the weeks after. The new 24,655 square-foot, state-of-the-art library designed by LPA Architects serves more than 92,000 residents– nearly one-fourth of the city’s population.

The library’s Family Learning Center provides opportunities to ensure academic and career success for residents through hands-on staff, resources, services, and programs that provide pathways to meaningful jobs and careers, equipping patrons with information for self-help, and imparting skills to stimulate entrepreneurship and innovation. Based on community-wide input, services focus on children, teens, and families. Anyone wanting to increase their knowledge and intellectual capabilities, however, has access to these and other programs at the library.

Some of the highlights of the new library are:

• A collection of 70,000 books and audiovisual materials, and public access computers
• A teen area with a Learning Studio equipped with state-of-the-art computers to assist students with homework and school assignments, plus 3-D printers, laptops, and tablets installed with the latest printing and design software
• A children’s area with a StoryTime theater allowing children and parents to enjoy programs for families
• A community room, a classroom, and a board room available for public use.

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