‘We’ll be a regional destination’: Glendale Central Library’s $15-million renovation is unveiled

After a $15-million renovation, the Glendale Central Library is preparing to open its doors to patrons next month with an ambitious plan to be a model library that will draw people from far beyond Glendale.

“We won’t just be a local-serving library,” said Sharon Mann Garrett, principal library, arts and culture administrator. “We’ll be a regional destination.”

Garrett led a sneak peak tour of the renovated library Wednesday following a city-hosted Tech on Tap event — a series of programs created to provide networking opportunities for those who are in the city’s tech industry.

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She led a group of people into the library’s still empty “makerspace room,” where creative types get to work on projects.

“When we did our research, we found out that there are two camps of makers,” she said.

One is made up of low-tech creators, or those who paint, craft jewelry, sew or scrapbook.

The other group includes those who are more technologically inclined, who create animation, design software or print items on 3-D printers.

“One goal of ours is to get these two camps to interact,” Garrett said.

That’s why — in the same room — there will be digital sewing machines, 3-D printers, a paint station, tools for jewelry makers and computers with animation and design software.

We believe now that the content of libraries is more than books. It’s become devices, it’s become making.

— Sharon Mann Garrett, principal administrator, Glendale Central Library

All of the equipment will be stored on mobile carts, and the tables will be on wheels so library employees can clear the room at any time to host workshops and demonstrations, she said.

Elsewhere in the library, attendees saw a new recording studio, where patrons can reserve time to record personal histories, podcasts or perhaps songs.

“We’ll have all the equipment you need that will range from professional, all the way down to amateur,” Garrett said.

The library’s revamped children’s room remained off-limits because it was still under construction, but attendees did get to walk inside the new auditorium where Garrett suggested wedding celebrations could be held.

The library will allow liquor licenses for select community or private events, she added.

On April 28, a gala will be hosted by the Glendale Library Foundation, with tickets costing $125 each. Attendees will take a tour of the library and enjoy hors d’oeuvres, drinks and live jazz, with the funds raised benefiting the library.

A public grand reopening of the library will start at 9:30 a.m. on May 1, with tours and entertainment until 10 p.m. that evening.

In the meantime, the library will also set up a Remembrance Room, where Garrett said exhibits highlighting past and current atrocities and inhumanities around the world, including the Armenian Genocide, will be on display.

“We believe now that the content of libraries is more than books. It’s become devices. It’s become making. It’s become enjoying cultural [activities]. We really want to take advantage of this real estate to make sure that it continues to serve the public the way it’s meant to,” Garrett said.

Twitter: @kellymcorrigan