The grand opening ceremony for Billie Jean King Main Library will be held Saturday in Long Beach, with the legendary tennis champion among the scheduled speakers.
The 92,500-square-foot building replaces the Main Library which closed earlier this year. It includes space for about 300,000 books as well as a Family Learning Center, the Center for Adaptive Technology, a Veterans Resource Center, study rooms, meeting rooms, a special collections area, an extensive children’s area with a storytelling space and an art studio.
The library will offer programs in financial planning and becoming a U.S. citizen, job skills training and literacy services.
The Long Beach City Council voted on July 23 to name the library for King, who was born in Long Beach and raised in the Wrigley neighborhood. She began playing tennis on Long Beach’s public courts as a fifth grader, won the Wimbledon women’s doubles title at 17 years old, the first of her 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles.
“King is a national treasure who credits our city for part of her success,” said Long Beach City Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, who introduced the motion to name the library for King and whose district includes the library. “I know her commitment to equity and justice will ensure our library system is representative of everyone.
“Many people improve their lives inside a library. From the knowledge they extract in books, to the power of imagination and creativity, the relationships built within the community of a library provides an opportunity for all people to grow. Libraries are where people go to fill their toolbox with resources needed to persevere and learn about courage, grit, and equality.”
King tweeted that she was “incredibly humbled” by having the library named for her.
The ceremony comes one day after the 46th anniversary of King’s victory over Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” match. The first 40,000 ticketed fans at Saturday’s Los Angeles Dodgers-Colorado Rockies game at Dodger Stadium will receive a bobblehead of King, who is part of the team’s ownership group.
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