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New 28,000 Square Foot Library Dedicated in Monrovia, Hundreds Attend Celebration

April 9th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

hal 2 The City of Monrovia held a gala dedication Saturday morning of the new 16 million dollar library which may just be the envy of every city in San Gabriel Valley. The new Monrovia Library is located, appropriately enough, in Library Park where the park itself has also undergone a major renovation during the construction of the new facility.

Hal Leavens, local Monrovia legend, stood proudly outside the new library after the dedication ceremonies holding his “Yes on Measure L” sign. Measure L was the bond measure that passed, allowing the library to be built.

The public art outside the library appropriately depicts Mark Twain seated on a bench – a man who once said…
“A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.But the truth is, that when a Library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected youth and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn’t anger me.”

The new Monrovia library features considerably more space for books, periodicals, tapes and DVDs; a Community Room; a Heritage Room; adult, children and teen areas; homework and study rooms; a literacy services area; an expanded reference section; individual reading areas; self-checkout machines;  and many public computers as well as a Friends of the Library store.

The Dedication Ceremony was held at 11 am starting with the flag raising by the Monrovia Police Explorers, presentations on Monrovia’s “green” facility, a speech by Mayor Rob Hammond and thanks galore for all who made the facility possible.  The plaque unveiling was immediately followed by tours of the new building.  

“The dedication of the new Monrovia Public Library is a dream come true,” said Hammond. “For more than a decade, Monrovians worked with the state [trying] to fund a modern Library. When the state failed to fund the project after three separate attempts, Monrovians, as they so often do, rolled up their sleeves, started over, and did it themselves. Overwhelming voter approval of a bond issue on the ballot in 2007 got the $16 million project funded. Construction began later that same year.”
Approximately 600 people attended the dedication on Saturday.

The library will officially open on Monrovia Day next month.

Another of Mark Twain’s more popular quotes sums up the reason for a library in the first place: “When I am king, they shall not have bread and shelter only, but also teachings out of books, for a full belly is little worth where the mind is starved.”


Story and Photos by Terry Miller

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