New library is just Malibu’s type
April 17, 2012
It’s one thing to check out your favorite Hemingway novel. But it’s not every day that you can walk into a newly renovated library, sit down at the author’s 1947 Royal and peck out your own muscular prose.
So April 22 will be a big day in Malibu for a couple of reasons: First, the Malibu Library will be back in business after a two-year, $6-million makeover. And second, the celebration will include not only a bevy of local authors, but more than a half-dozen historic typewriters that will be available to type on in exchange for a $250 donation.
“People are going to love it,” predicts Los Angeles County Librarian Margaret Donellen Todd, who sees the library’s rebirth as a showcase for the literary and cultural roots of the famed coastal community.
“It’s directly across from Legacy Park, so you have that view. There’s a reading and activity garden, and glass walls that bring the outside in. The civic art is amazing—the children’s mural is beautiful, and we’ve done a tile carpet that’s a replica of the one at the Adamson House at the entry.
“There’s a teen librarian who’s going to do a lot of outreach, and there’ll be a speaker series. And we’ve gotten $25,000 to build a special collection on the surf and the ocean and sustainability.”
The renovation is the county library’s first since it was built in 1963. Spearheaded by former Malibu City Council member Sharon Barovsky, outgoing Council member Pamela Conley Ulich and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, it was financed with property tax revenue that had been set aside since 2004. The Malibu library is just one several recent library construction projects, including the opening of the Topanga Library in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Among other highlights, the Malibu Library includes an enlarged 100-person community room, a teen study room with floor-to-ceiling images of local surfers, a replica of a landmark lighthouse that doubles as a family restroom and indoor-outdoor spaces and skylights that bring a new sense of airiness to the nearly 50-year-old facility.
Actors Dick Van Dyke and Pierce Brosnan will be special guests at the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. dedication, but the heart and soul of the new building will be the written—and typewritten—word.
As a kickoff exhibition, L.A. developer and civic leader Steve Soboroff offered to share his historic typewriter collection for the day of the ceremony, giving the public a one-day opportunity to try out some of the famous implements in exchange for a $250 donation that will benefit Malibu High School and the Emily Shane Foundation, a local nonprofit. On display will be typewriters that once belonged to Ray Bradbury, John Lennon, Ernest Hemingway, George Bernard Shaw, Andy Rooney, Joe DiMaggio and others.
Also available for viewing, but not for typing, will be the typewriter that once belonged to Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber.
“We think it might be offensive to some people if we were to let people type on that one,” Todd says. “It probably wouldn’t the best way to raise money, although it would be unique.”
The library also has enlisted the presence of a number of homegrown authors, including “Point Dume” author Katie Arnoldi, Delores Rivellino (“The Malibu Cookbook”), Susan Stifelman (“Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm, and Connected”) and Viki King (“How to Write a Movie in 21 Days”).
Todd says part of the renovated library’s new mission will be an enhanced speaker’s series and an area in which she plans to showcase books by locals.
“I’m really looking forward to building that out as time goes on,” Todd says. “We’re going to take our time and see what works.”