The story of the Corona del Mar library continued this week as officials turned the page on the new and improved building, on the same old location, and opened its doors to the public.
The new CdM library branch opened Monday at 9 a.m. and with it the first major difference, as the branch’s previous building was not open on Monday, Newport Beach Library Services Director Tim Hetherton pointed out. The community is still getting used to that, he added.
It was a low-key opening, he noted later on Monday, about 75 people came in steadily all day.
“It went really smooth,” Hetherton said. “It looked picture perfect.”
People checked out books and other items. A few patrons used the self-checkout machines. The umbrellas went up on the patio and a local group of friends came and played bridge.
They also had quite a few people use the study tables, branch librarian Annika Helmuth added on Tuesday.
“The whole building has already gotten used,” she said.
Neighbors walked by in the morning, saw the lights on and came on in, she noted.
“We pretty much had a revolving door of neighbors, customers, and children (on Monday),” Helmuth said. “They were all very excited.”
On Tuesday, the branch hosted its first books & babies storytime event. Helmuth read a few books, sang a couple songs, and played some games with about 20 kids and their parents and/or caregivers. Most of the activities were familiar to veteran storytime participants, but Helmuth also broke out a few new items, including colorful, plastic “egg shakers” and a new storytime teddy bear.
“It’s so wonderful to see you all here at our very first storytime,” she said, after singing the “Hello” song with the group. “We have a lot of new and exciting books to explore.”
The first book she read, “Hello” by Fiona Woodcock, still had its “new” sticker on it as Helmuth opened it for the first time.
Storytime had a good turnout, she noted after singing the “Goodbye” song. Everyone was engaged, and many had attended events in the old Corona del Mar facility, so they were happy to be in the new building.
“So they get to see the transition…and be a part of that process,” Helmuth said.
Prior to the opening, the contractor, Telacu, made significant progress on punch-list items at the new facility, city staff reported at the Board of Library Trustees meeting on Monday.
The library, together with Newport Beach fire station no. 5, is part of a 10,314-square-foot joint facility, built to replace the two aged buildings and maximize interior space, energy efficiency and parking areas, staff reported.
Features include a colorful children’s area, comfortable reading areas, stroller parking and the Friends of the Library Reading Porch with outdoor seating, tables and umbrellas.
The collection of books and media materials is brand new and funded through generous contributions from the Friends of the Library, Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and individual library supporters. Books, music, and movies are all available for checkout. Laptop computers can be borrowed for use in the library.
The Corona del Mar Library will be open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and closed on Sunday.
Regular programs will include books & babies storytime every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., preschool storytime every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., and drop-in crafts on the first and third Monday of each month at 3:30 p.m.
The layout of the branch is perfect for the library’s business model, Hetherton said, highlighting the front desk staff that greets everyone who comes through the door.
“It looks modern and nice, but it’s still cozy, it’s not a cold building,” Hetherton commented later on Monday. “We’re really happy that it’s done. It’s good to have it all sewn up.”
For more information, visit newportbeachlibrary.org