Monday, Feb. 23, 2009 | 2 a.m.
Beyond the Sun
What: Grand opening of the Henderson Libraries' Galleria Branch
When: Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Ceremony at 12:30 p.m.)
Where: Galleria at Sunset, 1301 W. Sunset Road, on the first floor by the former
Henderson Libraries is set to celebrate Saturday at the grand opening of the system's new branch inside the Galleria at Sunset mall.
Strapped for cash and facing a rapidly growing user rate, the library district had to get creative in its expansion plans. In the Galleria at Sunset, the district found a willing partner and was able to strike a deal to place a small branch in the shopping center for a low price.
"Basically, we're getting the first eight months free, and then we have a very, very, very reasonable rate going forward," Henderson Libraries Executive Director Thomas Fay said.
The grand opening will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fay said, and will feature an official ceremony at 12:30 p.m. During the rest of the time, Fay said, costumed guests and community leaders will be on hand to do live readings.
"Really, we're just hoping to get people to take a look, try it out, and maybe check something out if they're so inclined," Fay said.
The Galleria Branch will be located on the first floor, in the court next to the former Mervyn's. Fay said mall officials have pulled out all the stops to make the branch a comfortable experience, including bringing in extra furniture to create a lounge in the courtyard. The branch will also offer free wi-fi.
While some cities have placed library branches in malls, Fay said, it is not a common practice because of cost.
"In general, you don't really see it too often because mall space is at a premium," Fay said. "So you have to find a willing partner."
Galleria at Sunset Marketing Director Heather Valera said the willingness of mall officials to work with the library district is a reflection of the value they place on having a library branch.
"We wanted to give them a great deal on their lease terms because we see the library as a great service for shoppers and a great source of community outreach — a way to support the community," Valera said.
The Galleria Branch will have a limited collection of popular literature and children's books, Fay said, but patrons will be able to request a book from any of the library's other branches to be delivered to the Galleria Branch. Patrons will also be able to return materials from any Henderson branch.
The branch will also offer children's literacy programs.
"It's just a great service for shoppers to know that they can come check out a book or take back any of their library materials," Valera said.
The Galleria Branch is the first of three new Henderson Libraries branches slated to open this year. The Green Valley Library, which the Henderson system has taken over from the Las Vegas-Clark County system, is expected to reopen in April after undergoing renovations, and a small branch in the new Senior Center at Heritage Park is expected to open this fall.
Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or email@example.com.