Topanga Canyon News
Delayed Topanga Library Opens In January
By Daniel Antolin
Dec 16, 2011 - 2:29:08 AM

Topanga Library parking lot. Photo courtesy of its official Twitter page.
TOPANGA CANYONBeginning on January 21, 2012, Topanga Canyon residents, who for years have relied on the Los Angeles Public Library's Las Virgenes Bookmobile for their reading needs, will get their very own neighborhood library located between the Pines Tree Circle Shopping Center and the Verizon building.

On the date in question, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Friends of the Topanga Library will host the grand opening and dedication of the new Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) branch and the debut of the non-profit group's adjacent shop, both to be located at 122 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The event will feature guest speakers, live entertainment, food, a tour of the library and the opportunity to meet the four artists who designed it. They include both current and former Topanga Canyon residents: Norman Grochowski, Megan Rice, James Sullivan, Matt and Paul Doolin.

Grochowski's flowers courtesy of L.A. County Arts Commission, Topanga Library Twitter page.
Grochowski designed three 9-foot steel steel flowers, the petals of which are open books, that will be featured on an outdoor terrace. Matt and Paul Doolin created a large circular tile-based mural depicting the canyon's flora and fauna. Using tiles he made by hand, Sullivan created a mosaic rug for the library's main entrance. And Rice made two resin-coated sculptures for the kids area.

Library officials indicated via Twitter on December 8 that they still had a lot of work left to do as they continue to move into the new facility, which will include a reading area for adults and a room for community meetings. Other rooms include a center where children can receive help with homework, a teen center for middle and high school students, a kids area with an outside reading patio, express checkout machines, public computers with Internet access and a ground-floor garage.

Originally planned to open in the summer of 2009, then rescheduled for the summer of 2010, the 11,040-square-foot library's construction became problematic when the Los Angeles-based FEI Enterprises, Inc. requested payment for extra work performed as result of planning errors and the discovery of Native American artifacts, Los Angeles Department of Public Works documents state. Though monetary claims and the pace of construction were disputed, the Board of Supervisors ultimately agreed to a change order of $645,651 for a total project cost of $19.5 million. The cost was previously $17 million in 2010.

Until 2012, Topanga Canyon locals can continue to utilize the bookmobile, which stops in the Woodland Park Mobile Estates and Top O'Topanga Mobile Home Park areas on Wednesdays. Used books can be donated during the library's grand opening for Friends of the Topanga Library to sell at its shop. Contributions go toward enhancing the library's collection and programs. The group most desires hard-back, first-edition or kid's genre books.

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