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.