The largest Arabian horse collection in the world is now located on the first floor of Cal Poly Pomona's university library.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held in front of the W. K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Library last Wednesday revealing the new home to the legacy and history of the university and its roots with Arabian horses, which will open to the public in January.
James McHale, W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Chief of Staff, flew in from Battle Creek, Mich. to attend the event.
"I have to tell you, I was really quite amazed by the large turnout," said McHale. "I just didn't realize that there would be so much anticipation and enthusiasm for the opening of the library. This is spectacular. Mr. Kellogg would be proud."
After the ribbon was cut, about 50 guests made their way into the library. The entrance through the double doors introduced a brightly lit corridor, lined with pictures serving as a timeline of events at W.K. Kellogg's Arabian Horse Ranch.
The artifacts, books, trophies, photographs and memorabilia in the library date as far back as the early stages of W.K. Kellogg's Arabian Horse Ranch. Thousands of books stood on the shelves and corners of the new 5,200-square-foot library.
The images from sepia and black-and-white photographs of W.K. Kellogg, his family, his ranch, the campus and his Arabian horses were emitting from a projector occupying a wall behind a podium.
"It's beautiful, just one of the most beautiful facilities," said Ray Wang, Dean of the university library. "We really lucked out in the sense that Quatro Group designed this space."
As guests filled the library, McHale was called to the podium where he delivered a brief speech about the university's history and Kellogg.
Many people approached McHale afterward to shake his hand and thank him for the presentation.
Mia Ibranan, a Cal Poly Pomona alumna from the College of Environmental Design, was one of the project managers from the Quatro Design Group.
McHale said discussions and negotiations for the library started approximately six years ago. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation had been approached with the idea of an Arabian horse library that would be built next to the old horse stables.
"Putting [the library] in the heart of the university is great because more students will have more access to it."
Most of the library's collection came from the Union Plaza which served as the original horse stables from 1925 to 1970s.
"It's been too long in us getting here," said University President Michael Ortiz. "It's great to see the people who have worked and supported the [Arabian Horse] Center to come to this event."
Ortiz explained that due to the delicate nature of documents and other collection items that require to be kept in a temperature controlled area, the decision to utilize space in the university library's first floor was the most economically sound and most sensible option. The plans for the renovations and construction for the library began in 2008.
Library staff faced difficult tasks in order to retrieve boxes that were stored in odd areas. Staff had been working on transferring the collection into the new space for about a year.
"We are all really protective of the material," said Katherine Staab, Arabian horse subject specialist. "There's no one else out there with such an extensive collection.
The biggest problem was finding space for it."
Staab stood alongside McHale, Ortiz, and Wang as they cut the ribbon and began the celebration of the library's completion.
"The library is considered the jewel of the campus," said Caryn Romo, serial specialist library assistant. "Being on the ground level is a great honor and opportunity."