Palisades Library to Be Closed Three Weeks

The floor in the foyer and by the reservation desk in the Palisades Library will be replaced.

The Palisades Branch Library, located at 861 Alma Real, will be closed for three weeks for facility maintenance, which includes painting and hardwood flooring replacement. The closure begins August 28, and the library will reopen on Monday, September 18.

The wood flooring has never been replaced since the new library building opened in 2003.

Adult Librarian Barbara Birenbaum wrote that “All holds will be held for patrons until we return. However, you will not be able to place new holds for delivery to our branch until we reopen.”

She said during the library closure, the closest branches for library services will be Brentwood (11820 San Vicente Boulevard) and Venice (501 S. Venice Boulevard).

This library had planned a pop-up Noir Film Festival through 2023, but “We are canceling The Long Goodbye on Saturday, August 26, because we will be moving furniture into the community room that day. It will be rescheduled for when we come back,” Birenbaum said.

This was the first library in Pacific Palisades.

The town’s library was opened in 1922 by the Pacific Palisades Association in a building in Temescal Canyon, north of Sunset. Seven years later, the Los Angeles Public Library established a deposit station on Antioch Street. In 1948, the library was moved to 868 Swarthmore Avenue, where it remained until a library sub-branch was opened at 864 ½ Via de la Paz in 1952.

The library opened at its current location on January 28, 1963.

In 2003 a City of Los Angeles bond issue was passed by voters specifically to build new libraries in the city and to renovate others, including the aging Palisades facility.

The late Mitzi Blahd, who was president of the Friends of the Palisades Library at that time, felt that the town should have an entirely new building on Alma Real, but would require grassroots fundraising to supplement funding by the City. Joined by fellow Friends board members, she spearheaded a multi-year campaign that yielded $850,000 towards the state-of-the-art library that opened in 2003.

The building was designed by KFA Architecture, which had a history of design in Los Angeles. Its first library was built in 1983, first school in 1985, first affordable housing project in 1988, and first mixed-use residential project in 1990. The firm has now designed and built 11 libraries, including the gem in Pacific Palisades.

During the Covid pandemic, a ceiling fire on October 8, 2020, forced the library to close for many months.

Then Circling the News reported, “According to Battalion 9 Chief Joseph Everett, the fire was caused by an electrical light that was arcing (sparking). He said, ‘The fire probably started last night,’ but the smoke was only apparent this morning.’”

When firefighters arrived, they went to the roof to make cuts, not only to ventilate the fire, but to pinpoint the fire and stop it from spreading through the space between the metal roof and the wood roof throughout the building.

The sprinklers, which are in sections of the library, were going off in the area where there was smoke — in the children’s section.

Firefighters covered the books with plastic sheeting and shut off the sprinkler system in order to minimize damage.

Thanks to the quick work by firefighters quick, the wood flooring by the reference desk and in the foyer by checkout was unscathed. Now, the 20-year-old flooring will be replaced.

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2 Responses to Palisades Library to Be Closed Three Weeks

  1. Cindy Dunne says:

    Just curious why maintenance wasn’t done before schools started up for the fall.

  2. Pierre says:

    Hopefully, the drinking water fountains will also be fixed as their water pressure is very low rendering them useless for drinking.

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