Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Passing the book

The biggest treat for me on October 31 was the grand opening of the new Castro Valley library. The event started at 7 a.m. when volunteers began setting up stations along a 0.7-mile route from the old library to the new one.

About 1500 people registered at the stations. Two of us volunteers were assigned at each station to make sure everyone signed a waiver (in case a particularly heavy book caused litigation-size back pain) and give them a T-shirt.

The participants then stood shoulder-to-shoulder along the route. At 8:30 a.m., the first book, a history of Castro Valley, California, started its journey to the new library. A cheer went up!

Then 299 more books were passed, hand to hand. You can see from the photo that people of all ages showed up for the exciting symbolic passing. (The full collection had been moved by professionals during the weeks before.)
Even a witch showed up. (I'm not telling who was the witch; she wasn't necessarily wearing a big black hat.)

Books of all genres were passed, each bearing a special plate indicating that they were part of the historic move; they went directly to the Friends of the Library store in the lobby of the building.

Once registration was over, I joined the line passing books. The hardest part: we weren't allowed to stop and read the books as they passed though our hands. Some children disobeyed, a heartening sight.

The new library has more of everything: books, parking spaces, meeting rooms, Internet access, and a quiet reading area.

Plus a café!

Plus a new reading group: on the first Tuesday in February 2010, a mystery reading group will begin in the new library. I'll be facilitating—if you're in the area, please consider joining us. If you're a mystery author, consider offering copies of your book and joining us via cyberspace for a discussion.

Judging by the turnout for Saturday's event, reading is thriving in this part of Alameda County.


Rebecca955@aol.com said...

What a nice scene to picture! My favorite aunt and uncle lived in Castro Valley --she taught home economics in Oakland, then joined the Peace Corps at 65 and taught in Sierra leon. They are both long gone but I have happy memories of the town. As a heavy library user, it is nice to hear of one getting public support (especially in California!)

Anonymous said...

What a great synopsis of a great event. Alameda County should be very proud and happy. More of this needed - all over. xoxoxo

Linda O. Johnston said...

Such a great way to launch a new library! Sounds as if you're really involved there, too, Camille. Nothing better than encouraging everyone to read!

Betty Hechtman said...

What a cool event! Thanks for sharing it with us. The new library sounds wonderful.

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