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Burbank library users hail return of Northwest branch

Burbank library users hail return of Northwest branch
Kenley Miller, 4, of Burbank, points to what she heard in the earphones on a children's computer at the Northeast branch library on the day of reopening Monday after an extensive remodel. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer)

Charley Bean Ramos waited for what felt like “a million thousand hundred” years for her neighborhood library to reopen.

When she turned 8 years old in April — during National Library Week — she even spent her birthday wish on it.

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This week, Charley’s wish came true, albeit a few months late.

The renovated Northwest Branch Library opened to the public Monday after being closed for a year for seismic retrofitting. It’s also now compliant with the American Disabilities Act, and boasts new furniture, bookshelves, lighting and computers, along with a new teen corner and improved children’s section, said supervising librarian Melissa Gwynne.

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The renovations were funded by a $463,217 federal grant, plus a $154,405 local match, said Library Services Director Sharon Cohen.

Within minutes of entering the library, Charley grabbed two books (out of the library’s more than 71,000) she’d been waiting to check out — the eighth book of “The Sisters Eight” series, and “Thea Stilton and the Ghost of the Shipwreck.”

She was on the hunt for one more, since her mom, Jodi Ramos, set a three-book limit

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“Otherwise, I can’t find them,” she said with a laugh.

“I love the library,” Charley said. “We’re probably going to go a lot even when we’re going to school.”

She wasn’t the only one.

Josh Dipietro, 9, refused to go to another library during the yearlong closure.

“He’s loyal,” said his grandmother, Joyce Rizzo.

On Monday, her grandson wasn’t disappointed.

“I love it,” Josh said, flashing his new library card. “It has new computers and you can look what kind of books you want from (them.)”

On Monday afternoon, Denise Listorti — a 25-year Burbank resident who is a Los Angeles Unified teacher — sat at a children’s table with a cluster of story books on bullying. She was choosing which ones to use in class when school starts next month.

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Her 12-year-old daughter, meanwhile, was scanning the stacks for books to take home.

“We’re very happy it’s opened again,” Listorti said, adding that her daughter’s an avid reader. “I go broke buying books for her.”

Dennise Gil, who has lived in Burbank for a decade, said the Northwest branch is convenient and homey.

“I think if my son had a choice, he’d live here,” Gil said with a laugh.

The Northwest branch is located at 3323 West Victory Blvd. and is open Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

-- Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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