Library revamp to offer space for working on creative projects

A $15 million renovation of the Central Library just got a bit more expensive.

The City Council this week approved spending an extra $374,966 to add an incubator space where people can work on creative projects, and a room dedicated to the Armenian genocide and other man-made tragedies.

The project will also include seismic improvements and other infrastructure work at the library.

The overall renovation project aims to upgrade and modernize the library’s facilities as developers and the city continue to revive the Arts & Entertainment District in downtown with the incoming Museum of Neon Art and several new apartment complexes.

The project, which was originally slated to be paid for by $10 million in bonds, ballooned to $15 million in July when the City Council agreed to borrow $5 million from the city’s reserves because the project was held up for a while and costs had risen, and because city officials wanted to add more infrastructure work to the project.

The original scope of work included moving the library entrance and adding a staircase. Now, officials have added a so-called makerspace, which will offer technical equipment, possibly 3D printers, which make three-dimensional objects from a computer model over several hours or several days.

The space featuring materials about the Armenian genocide and other man-made tragedies will be called the “Man’s Inhumanity to Man” room, a theme Glendale officials highlight once a year during the anniversary of the Armenian genocide in April.

The room is set to consist of exhibits, interactive listening stations and bookshelves, according to a city report.

The two new areas demonstrate the city’s desire to make the library a community gathering place, as well as a place to check out books.

“It looks like a great improvement,” said Mayor Dave Weaver at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

Councilman Zareh Sinanyan had pushed for a room dedicated to the library’s Armenian Genocide materials months ago because local residents have been calling for one for more than a decade.

“It’s been about 13 years,” Sinanyan said. “I think it’s about time.”

As for the makerspace, such creative spaces are being incorporated into libraries across the country, according to Cindy Cleary, director of the library’s Library Arts & Culture Department.

“It fits with our mission of pulling people together in the community and the education aspect. It’s kind of a natural venture for this kind of program,” she said.

Glendale library officials were inspired by LA Makerspace, a nonprofit that offers classes and events as well as a space for creators to do everything from computer work to woodwork to sewing. While the downtown Los Angeles space is a member-driven organization, the library makerspace will be open to the public.

Cleary said the library hasn’t hammered out what programming it plans to offer at the space or the equipment it will provide.

The library plans to host a workshop about 3D printing at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 to gauge community interest in the technology.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine


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