LONG BEACH (CBSLA) — Back in July, the Long Beach City Council voted to name a library after Long Beach native Billie Jean King — and it opened Saturday.
The Billie Jean King Main Library, 200 W. Broadway, celebrated its grand opening in downtown Long Beach. Speakers at the event included the tennis legend herself and local leaders.
There were breakfast food trucks, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and other activities to officially welcome the branch into the Long Beach Public Library system.
The nearly 100,000-square-foot library includes a family learning center, veterans resource center, an extensive children’s area and what Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia called one of the largest comics and graphic novel collections in Southern California.
Tomorrow at 10 am we open the largest and newest library in Long Beach, the @BillieJeanKing Main Library. Besides being a huge center for learning and families, it also includes one of the largest comics and graphic novel collections in Southern California – I made sure of it 🎉 pic.twitter.com/ACdLegGDah
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarciaLB) September 20, 2019
King was born in Long Beach where she attended Long Beach Polytechnic High School and then Cal State Los Angeles. She began playing tennis on the city’s public courts when she was in fifth grade. By the end of her career, King had amassed 39 Grand Slam titles — 12 in singles competition, 16 in women’s doubles and 11 in mixed doubles.
Off the court, King’s work for gender and racial equality and gay rights has largely influenced both sport and politics. She has also written nine books and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.
The library will open to the public immediately following the ceremony.