FAIRFIELD — There is another library in town. It’s been here since 1991.
Tucked into a corner of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, the cozy and intimate Claybon Lea Memorial Library began in 1991 with a book drive and about 500 books.
“Not many at all,” said Carrie Donaldson, the church librarian. “Now we’re all the way up to 5,000.”
That doesn’t count the books that haven’t been checked in yet – sitting in storage waiting to see some shelf space.
The library’s main focus is black history and Christian religion, but there are also general fiction, children’s books and a tutoring section with a variety of resources such as those massive test books for the general educational development test and the Graduate Management Admission Test. There are also DVDs that can be checked out. Donaldson said she is in the process of adding books pertaining to a variety of cultures, as well.
The shelves contain books such as the iconic “Black Like Me,” by John Howard Griffin, and books on Sojourner Truth, the well-known black abolitionist and women’s rights activist.
“(The goal) was to provide a place where people of any ethnicity could read and learn our history,” said Carol Lea, the wife of Claybon Lea Sr., the founder of the library.
Students are also encouraged to visit the library for research work. The reception has been “slow, but growing,” Lea said.
Lea said that with Donaldson’s now-annual Black History Month exhibit, word has gotten out about the library.
Donaldson, who has been the church’s only librarian since it was founded and is also an employee of the Solano County Library, said that back when it was founded, finding many books on black history in the county library system was difficult. These days, she said, it’s much easier.
Future library plans include expansion to add a cultural center highlighting the heritage and contribution of black Americans to American history.
Just like the county library, there are applications available for a library card. The library is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
The library at Mount Calvary takes in donations and purchases its own books. Those with donations can call the library number at 399-4245.
It is located upstairs at 1735 Enterprise Drive, Building 3.
Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.