I first visited Solano County in my early 20s. Coming from the East Coast, the golden hills and the fruit orchards of the Suisun Valley posed a unique setting for the pleasant pace of this young, growing city of Fairfield. However, I know that it’s the people who have kept me here for almost 40 years – people who value family, friends and this community we call home.
I grew up in a family with two working parents. As busy as their days were, they found time each evening to read to me and my siblings. I don’t remember learning to read. It just happened. I am lucky. This is not so for more than 60,000 adults living right here in Solano County.
We are a diverse citizenry in every way. We are young and old, educated and not, rich and poor, and hale from all over the world. As diverse as we are, one thing almost all of us share is our sense of community. I know this first hand from my work with Literacy Services at Solano County Library.
During the past 20 years, thousands of caring people have come through the doors of our literacy office. There are those who come to volunteer – to share of their time and resources to help another adult learn to read, write or speak English. And, there are those who come to learn – to be able to help their children with their homework, write a resume in hopes of getting a better job, or in the case of one woman, to be able to read Bible stories to her Sunday school class without the children laughing at her mistakes.
Every day I am touched by literacy – by all the amazingly brave adults who take time out of their busy lives to come to the library twice a week and improve their English skills. I am equally amazed by the hundreds of volunteers who give so freely of themselves to change the life of another.
Celebrating an anniversary gives one the opportunity to stop and reflect upon what has transpired. Even more so, to look forward to all that we as a community can accomplish together.
The growth and stability of our community are significantly affected by the ability of our citizens to read and write. Solano County recognizes that our people represent our greatest resource and 2014 is an important year. It not only marks 100 years of library service here in Solano County, but also 20 years of Literacy Services. I would like to thank the community for its continuing support in our campaign to eliminate adult illiteracy.
Interested in finding out about how you can get involved? Visit us Sept. 8 – International Literacy Day – in the lobby of the Solano County Administration Center, 675 Texas St., Fairfield. Staff, adult learners and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the program and its impact on Solano County’s adults.
A special program, featuring our California State Librarian, Greg Lucas, will take place at 9 a.m.
If Sept. 8 doesn’t work for you, visit www.solanolibrary.com and click on “Literacy” or call 784-1526 for additional information. Tutor orientation will take place Sept. 10 or Sept. 17 at the Fairfield Civic Center Library.
Joanne Wright is the Literacy Program Manager for Solano County Library.