Check It Out: Celebrating a sparkling new library

As the library faithful know, the Newport Beach Central Library has been in various stages of construction for the last couple years as work on the new Civic Center has been in progress. The wait is finally over. The Civic Center has been completed, and the library has seen an expansion of roughly 17,000 square feet. The community is excited to utilize this new space and many new features!

For those of you familiar with the first floor of the Central Library, the very first thing that you will notice is that the stairs are back…and how! A new, marvelous stone stairway leads the way to the second floor. The stairs are lit with small LED lights and travel under a unique skylight above called an "oculus."

The first floor offers more seating areas and comfortable new furniture. A nicely organized nook contains the most recent issues of magazines and newspapers and offers an ideal space to stop by in the morning to catch up on the day's news. The expansion has allowed the library to reorganize the Books on CD collection so that browsing is easier and everything is located in the same area. The growing DVD and Blu-ray collection also have more space for browsing as well. Techies, designers and aspiring filmmakers can look forward to working in the Media Center, opening at the end of May, where they will find state-of-the-art programs and equipment, with limitless opportunities for creativity and learning.

One of the most dramatic examples of the library's expansion can be found in the Children's Room. A wide new space in the rear of the room offers a much larger presentation area for story times, crafts and events. In addition to the new study and reading space, designers have incorporated interactive play areas where children can create felt designs, play with board games and puzzles or work on a new computer that offers early literacy learning games. The most well-used book collections, like Fiction and Picture Books, have been reorganized as well to make browsing easier.

Upstairs on the second story of the library, there has been quite a transformation. The construction walls had been hiding a beautiful expanse of floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allows natural light in and offers a beautiful view of the new Civic Green, landscaping, and the surrounding area. Past the landing of the staircase is a new space that links the library to the Civic Center. Visitors will be able to pick up a cup of coffee from the soon-to-be-opened café and relax in the indoor and outdoor seating area.

Just beyond this space is a new library entrance! Two sliding glass doors offer entry to the upper level of Central Library from a new 450-space parking structure linked to the Civic Green.

New study spaces abound on the second floor with unique new furniture suited for laptop users. Power connections are built right into the table top, and the desks boast comfortable desk chairs. Customers will appreciate the convenience and efficiency of the new self-checkout machines on both levels of the Central Library, which employ RFID technology (Radio Frequency IDentification). RFID tags are read much faster than traditional barcodes, and as a result, several items in a stack can be read at the same time, increasing turn-around time by as much as 50%. Last but not least, restrooms have also been added to the second story as well as an additional water fountain.

All of these new areas at the Central Library are ready for exploration and use, but be sure to come join in the Civic Center & Park Community Celebration at 10 a.m. May 4 as the new Civic Center is dedicated. The library will be opening at 10:30 a.m. with special events for children throughout the day. There will be refreshments and live entertainment as well as an "open house" environment for the library and new buildings. Check the Library's Events page for the latest information at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org!

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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