FAIRFIELD — What’s that thing that hobos carry around? How do I start my own business selling false eyelashes? How can I find information on a pension I may have coming to me? How large is a cord of wood?
Solano County librarians have answered countless questions like these for generations of patrons, as recounted by speakers at the library’s 100-year anniversary celebration Saturday at the county Events Center downtown.
The celebration brought dignitaries, library personnel past and present, a few reading dogs and their handlers, and a lot of fans.
Linda Seifert, chairwoman of the Solano County Board of Supervisors, said libraries have been a part of her life since third grade when her class decided to start a library in her small community. They planned the whole thing, including how they were going to gather books and what the project would cost. Their efforts failed, but Seifert said the experience laid the foundation for her deep love of books and the place where they are housed.
“Libraries do more than renting books. Today you can get flu shots, it’s a place to find jobs and search for ancestors,” Seifert said. “Libraries are a place to borrow things, but also you keep the ideas from the books and research. They are a place of imagination.”
The future of libraries is of an industry in the midst of change. New technologies, state budget cuts and an ever-evolving public need will shape libraries of the future into a more diverse institution.
“The future is still going to be to collect, but it’s also going to be to digitize. And to create content for people. The library will still connect people to what they need,” Gerry Maginnity, acting California state librarian said. “Funding is going to continue to be a challenge for libraries. It’s going to be important to have communities with partnerships because the library can not be supported alone.”
Maginnity sees the future of libraries as a place to come not only to do research or read but as a place for people to gather and collaborate.
“It will be a place for people to come together,” he said.
Libraries have come to be a necessary part of the community because they are a place for people to gain skills for work, and are a resource for education.
Indeed, the celebration brought hundreds of people together for a variety of fun and games. Children created and launched their own paper rockets with the help of The Lawrence Hall of Science Inventor’s Lab out of Vallejo.
Other activities included Nikolas Strubbe’s Circus Acts for which he juggled, balanced on poles and kept the crowd entertained. Through all this, Keith Stout and his Alive Music Orchestra played big band music, which could be heard throughout downtown.
This was just the kickoff for coming celebrations at libraries throughout Solano County for the coming year. For example, the John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo will host a concert in April with Leo Cavanaugh, and the Vacaville Public Library-Cultural Center will host Don O’Brien’s Magical Science show in June.
Events will be posted on the Solano County Library’s website at www.solanolibrary.com.
For the record, the thing that hobos carry around is called a bindle.
Reach Susan Hiland at 427-6981 or firstname.lastname@example.org.