Cerritos Library as seen when looking north from the Cerritos Veterans Memorial
|Alternative names||Cerritos Millennium Library |
Cerritos Public Library
New Cerritos Library
|Address||18025 Bloomfield Ave|
|Groundbreaking||June 17, 1972|
|Opened||September 17, 1973 (Original) |
March 16, 2002 (Expansion)
|Owner||City of Cerritos|
|Floor area||82,500 sq ft (7,660 m2)|
The Cerritos Library is the civic library for the City of Cerritos, California. It was rededicated on March 16, 2002, with the new moniker and the current futuristic design. It was the first building to feature an exterior clad with titanium panels in the United States. It boasts to be the first "Experience Library" and focuses on themed spaces, high quality artwork, and inspirational architecture rather than being another library in the traditional sense.
During Cerritos' period of rapid growth in the 1970s, a series of high-profile developments, including a new library, was planned. Debate whether or not to join the County of Los Angeles Public Library system and share a branch with neighboring Artesia or to create a separate facility persisted early on. In the end, with the help of various associations such as the Friends of the Cerritos Library and the then-city manager (who wanted to save the residents from a $20-a-year library tax), the city decided to build its own municipal library.
On the corner of Bloomfield and 183rd Street, on the site of a former strawberry field, the initial groundbreaking for the Cerritos Library took place in June 1972. The building would be the first building added to the Cerritos Civic Center and was dedicated on October 13, 1973 in honor of Cerritos native, First Lady Patricia Nixon and all other First Ladies both past and present. The site was designed by local contractor AJ Padelford & Son using blueprints from architect Maurice Fleishman, AIA.
The Cerritos Library at the time was 18,000 square feet (1,700 m2) and housed 45,000 books as well as the latest technology (16-mm sound films and projectors, 16 mm microfilm cartridges, record players with headphones, electric typewriters, and copy machines). In addition, the library also had a children's area, theater and law library. Three years later, Cerritos joined the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System, giving patrons access to more than 3 million items at 26 member libraries and interlibrary loans. From the beginning, the seven-day-a-week schedule was popular. 
By 1986, the Cerritos economy was thriving and the city earmarked $6.6 million to remodel the 13-year-old building that would add another 21,000 square feet (2,000 m²) to the area. The children's area was tripled to 7,000 square feet (650 m2) to include an arts and crafts area a medieval mural and a saltwater aquarium. A community room for meetings and receptions was added as well as a new wing that housed reference, study space, and lounge seating. New furnishings, etched glass, and marble counters were also added.  The 1986 Cerritos Library won a national award of excellence, the highest honor, by the American Institute of Architecture and the American Library Association.
By this time, 65% of Cerritos residents used the library and borrowed half a million books and media every year. The 1986 expansion resulted in a 40% growth in the number of patrons and a 33% boost in the number of materials circulated.
In the spring of 2000, the western half the Cerritos Library was torn down to make way for the new Cerritos Millennium Library. Prior to the new construction, books and computer stations were inundated with people waiting in line to use some of the materials. Books were constantly being shelved and programs were very popular. Many cities around the world made plans to commemorate the new millennium, and in Cerritos, it was decided that the library would be a "library of the future."
Jim Nardini, AIA, of Charles Walton Associates acted as the project architect on the library. Judy Van Wyk and the team at The Design Studio, INC, provided concept and interior design. The library was built by CW Driver Contractors of Los Angeles; the $40 million library was completed in 2002.
Design, themes, and elements
The Cerritos Library is the result of a complete reevaluation of library services and the emergence of the Internet as a powerful resource. The book, The Experience Economy (B. Joseph Pine et al., Harvard Business School Press, 1999), served as an inspiration for city planning, designers, and staff to make the library more user friendly and customer-service–oriented. The city studied the work of futurists in order to learn information on cutting-edge library services, including interactive learning.  The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao served as additional inspiration for the layout and modern design of the exterior of the building. Images on display as well as futuristic sounds from computers, televisions, and the public announcement systems add to the visual/audio experience of a first-time visitor.
Under the leadership of Library Director Waynn Pearson, the Cerritos Millennium Library was expanded to 88,500 square feet (8,220 m2) on three stories and added 300,000 books to its collection, a high-tech conference center and kitchen, museum-quality displays, a lecture hall complete with personal computers and over 200 computer workstations. 1,200 Internet ports scattered throughout the building enables patrons to access the web with their laptops.
The children's library includes the saltwater aquarium, which was expanded to a 15,000 gallon tank complete with coral and sharks, a lighthouse in which children can read, a model space shuttle ("The Spirit of Cerritos"), a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil replica (named Stan), a little theater, an arts and crafts room, simulated atmospheric changes in a rainforest theme, a night sky theme, a help desk, and about three dozen computer workstations.
Old World Reading Room
Themed after 19th century European elements, the Old World Reading Room contains leather bound books, rare first editions, a fireplace, study spaces, and chandeliers. Together, these elements make this room more suited for readers and serious study.
The modern Art Deco styles of Main Street houses a local history room, a souvenir store, and the circulation desk. Palms and a large monitor displaying Cerritos screensavers add a modern touch. It is themed to imitate a pedestrian street for patrons to pass through and connect to the other destinations on the first floor.
The Great Room is themed after the unique Craftsman carpentry style. Paperbacks, periodicals and newspapers are located here. Internet Express Stations, which allow easy and quick access to the Internet, are available in this area as well.
In keeping with a reputation for being one of the most diverse cities in the state, the Cerritos Millennium Library maintains an Art Deco-style "World Traditions" area on the second floor. It houses a large collection of print and multimedia resources in several languages.
Below the "World Traditions" is the Multimedia room where DVDs and other videos, audio and materials geared towards young adults are located. It is also themed in a modern Art Deco style consistent with the "World Traditions" level above.
Proceeding up the escalator or the glass elevator to the other half of the second floor will lead you in the 21st Century floor. It is a futuristic level and design elements reflect a strictly modern style. Most of the computer workstations are located here, as well as several study rooms that patrons can reserve ahead of time. The library reference desk is located on this floor and illuminated bookshelves line the spaces adjacent to the reference desk.
In November 2006, in recognition of the City's 50th anniversary, the city unveiled a book shaped sculpture near the front entrance to the library. The sculpture, designed and built by artist Terry Braunstein, is called "Illuminations" and it contains heritage photos of the city, and mosaics depicting life in the city. The sculpture is 10 feet tall, and it is intended to inspire the imagination of the children who patronize the library. The base of the sculpture contains lights, which are turned on at night to enhance the sculpture's artistic design.
Use of technology
Modern technology supports all aspects of the Cerritos Millennium Library. The library has its own Intranet (MyClio). Multimedia resource centers combine print materials with Web resources, in-house content and computer graphics. Computerized InfoStations are scattered throughout the library. Public areas have computers and ethernet ports for library card holders to use and librarians come equipped with wireless headsets and handheld computers to assist patrons. A computerized circulation system that uses radio frequency keeps track of materials in circulation.  The library also has magnetic strips on the back of their library cards, much like a credit card. This enables the patron to utilize one of the several electronic self-checkout stations or to log onto a personalized MyClio web page.
Awards and recognition
- Best Public Library in 2003 "Best of L.A." issue by Los Angeles Magazine
- Best Public Library in 2003 by L.A. Parent Magazine
- Best Public Library in 2004 by Reader's Digest magazine
- Affiliate with the Smithsonian Institution to enhance exhibits
- American Library Association/American Institute of Architects "Award of Excellence"
- Expy Award in 2003 by thinkabout
- Thea Award in 2003 by the Themed Entertainment Association
- Special Mention Library of the Year in 2004 by Library Journal
- Best Library for Children in 2008 "Best of L.A" issue by Los Angeles Magazine
- Five star rating in March 2009 Library Journal America's Star Libraries
- #28 in the 50 Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Best Value Schools 2014
- Eftychiou, A., & Cenovich, M. (2006). Cerritos at 50: celebrating our past and our future. Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers.
- Cerritos Library History. (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2006 from http://www.ci.cerritos.ca.us/library/libhistory.html
- Cerritos launches the "Experience Library". (n.d.). Retrieved October 3, 2006 from http://www.ci.cerritos.ca.us/library/experience_library.html