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Photo Op Day at the Manhattan Beach Library Draws Families, Friends, Pets

Jun 07, 2022 07:48AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
An inaugural "Photo Op Day" at the Manhattan Beach Library on Sunday drew scores of adults, children, friends, and pets for complimentary professional portraits. All told, around 150 people (and nine dogs) posed for pictures in front of the Light Gate sculpture.

The event, sponsored by the Manhattan Beach Library Commission along with the Zislis Group and The Strand House and Shade Hotel, is the first of what is expected to be many new community-centric events at the library.

Sunday's gathering also included a giveaway of new and gently used donated books as well as live music from percussionist Andrew Funcheon and indie/pop artist Foxanne.   Each portrait group received a gift card for a free kid’s meal at Zinc at Shade. 

Volunteers at the event wore green and pink Hawaiian leis to correspond with the colors of the Light Gate sculpture. 


"It was a gorgeous day with the happiest people," said Janet Jones, who sits on Manhattan Beach's Library Commission.  "It was amazingly successful - even beyond expectations - and it just had a great vibe."

The event was sponsored by Michael Zislis along with two of his local businesses, The Strand House and Shade Hotel. Zislis has taken on the effort to bring more lively community events to the library, starting with this event and continuing with an upcoming concert series to be held on the lawn this fall.

"The library is a true gem of our downtown. My children love every experience they have there," said Zislis. "The Strand House and Shade Hotel were honored to sponsor the Photo Op Day and we look forward to bringing the community together for future events at the Manhattan Beach Library."



Jones added that the entire library commission was grateful for the support. "We are indebted to [Zislis] and to the Strand House and Shade Hotel because they made something remarkable happen," said Jones. 

Jones added: "The idea is that we want everybody to know that this library is vibrant, it's important, it's a cultural center, and it's a great place to hang out."

Manhattan Beach Library is Architectural Landmark

Completed in 2015, the Manhattan Beach Library is designed and built with LEED GOLD certification and features sweeping views of the Santa Monica Bay and Pacific Ocean. Designed by architecture firm Johnson Favaro, it was a finalist in two categories of the Architizer A+ Awards: Best Library, and Best use of Glass in Architecture.

The 21,500-square-foot library features an automatic book-sorting machine, which was the first of its kind in the County of Los Angeles Public Library system. Other features include an adult reading area with a fireplace and a view of the ocean; a children’s area with an interactive learning wall; a teen area; a meeting room with a capacity of 100 and a state-of-the-art audiovisual system and a kitchen; and four study rooms, each with a a data projector for laptop connection.

The Manhattan Beach Library is part of the L.A. County public library system, which has a 7.5 million volume book collection and a service area extending over 3,000 square miles.

The Light Gate sculpture. Photo via City of Manhattan Beach.

The Light Gate sculpture, which sits in front of the Manhattan Beach Library and Manhattan Beach City Hall, was dedicated in 2015. It focuses the view through an opening down 14th Street to the ocean. Each year on January 27 and November 14, the sunset aligns within the keyhole.

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