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Laurene Weste: Experience opening of city’s newest library

Posted: September 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.

For more than a decade, Santa Clarita has taken significant steps to invest in the area that has come to be known as Old Town Newhall.

Now, more than 15 years after redevelopment efforts began, the city will celebrate the grand opening of its largest facility, full of incredible learning resources and rich in history and culture.

On Sept. 29, the Santa Clarita City Council will host a communitywide grand opening event to celebrate the new Old Town Newhall Library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. with a literacy-themed street fair along Main Street followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. in front of the library on Lyons Avenue and Main Street.

A street fair, with a literacy emphasis, will offer more than 25 booths featuring authors, games, activities, giveaways, music and food trucks. Activities will include two stages with readings from authors including children’s books, western historical books, cookbooks, tours of the Walk of Western Stars with information on the various Western legends, tables to play word games, tours of Old Town Newhall and much more.

Participating businesses include: Brave New World, OutWest, Whole Foods, Chik-fil-A, Ice Station Valencia, Barnes & Noble, Costco, OTNA, Canyon Theatre Guild, Repertory East Playhouse, and ARTree.

Residents will also be able to tour and explore Santa Clarita’s new 30,000-square-foot library, which is the largest in the city.

The Old Town Newhall Library offers book and media capacity of more than 135,000 items, 68 public-use computers, 190 reader seats and 110 meeting seats.

However, the new Old Town Newhall Library isn’t just a place full of shelves of books. It’s a cultural center of activity for Santa Clarita featuring programming, history, learning and fun.

It also offers many special attributes that acknowledge the community’s history, celebrate its roots and provide an amazing learning and sharing environment for Santa Clarita residents.

Some of the highlights of this facility are its architectural features, including a replica of Beale’s Cut in the children’s library; community rooms and outdoor patio; the tower that reaches from the ground to the second story; art and photographic displays throughout the library; and the homey and comfortable fireplace reading room referred to as the “Reading Porch” on the second floor.

The city’s second Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified building includes: a children’s library, teen area, technology center, community meeting room, browsing and reading lounge, homework center, express check, Friends of Library sale area, exhibition gallery and staff workspaces on the first floor.

Fiction and nonfiction collections, reference and technology area, quiet reading, local history, small-group meeting rooms and the current magazine fireplace reading room occupy the second level.

The children’s library features a story time area large enough for 45 children with a tower and a special child-sized entrance. It also offers 10 Internet stations, 38 reader seats, eight early-childhood learning computers, a self-checkout machine, display areas, and shelving for more than 40,000 volumes.

The teen area includes lounge and study furniture, 18 Internet stations, a large-screen television and a teen group study room. The technology training center with 20 Internet stations is available for technology workshops or as a drop-in computing lab.

The community meeting room comfortably seats 108 audience style or varying numbers in conference- or banquet-style configurations. A large marketplace displays new books, topical displays and more than 18,000 DVDs, CDs and audiobooks.

The family literacy center offers places for testing, tutoring and independent learning in a quiet and private environment on the second floor. The technology center provides 22 Internet accessible PCs for public use. An adjacent technology lounge allows people to sit comfortably and plug in their laptops or borrow one of the library’s 18 laptops.

The city’s grand opening event for the Old Town Newhall Library is sure to be the premier event of the year.

For more information about the Santa Clarita Public Library, visit

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at



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