It’s a library kind of week for me, a trend that will continue into the coming week.
As some of you may recall, I have the privilege of serving on the Solano County Library Foundation’s board of directors. That allows me to have an insider’s look at not only various library programs, but also the work that takes place so our county library system can offer even more to area residents than it would otherwise be able to accomplish.
One such activity took place Friday to coincide with Women’s History Month.
The foundation hosted its seventh Women’s History Month luncheon at the Joseph A. Nelson Community Center in Suisun City. The place was packed with women – and men – who support the library system and who also support the women who make a difference day in and day out in our communities.
This year’s women of the year are Carolyn Wold and Deborah McGuire. Honorary chairwoman of the luncheon was Lt. Col. Jacqueline Breeden, commander of the 22nd Airlift Squadron at Travis Air Fore Base.
Brief talks by all three women – Wold gave hers as a video since she was not able to attend – and by keynote speaker Christina Baird, author of “How Far Will I Run,” were, as one would expect, moving, as was Suzanne Bruce’s poem written for the celebration, “Voltage.”
While a celebration of local women and their accomplishments, the event is also a fundraiser for the Solano County Library. It’s sold out each of the past few years – a good sign in and of itself.
Net proceeds – in this case some $7,500 after Assemblyman Jim Frazier dropped a $1,000 donation during the event – will fund women’s history programs that the county library could not otherwise present.
The donation was possible because people bought tickets to the luncheon, but also because businesses and individuals stepped up to sponsor the event. Those include presenting sponsor Travis Credit Union; key sponsors Genentech, Gretchen Shilts, Kaiser Permanente, NorthBay Healthcare, Recology Vallejo and Touro University; and a host of other individual sponsors.
I can’t wait to see the innovative and fun ways the library uses the money in the coming year to boost women’s history activities across the county.
Dozens of adult learners and their volunteer tutors took part in the Adult Literacy program’s culmination ceremony a week ago Saturday at the Solano County Events Center.
This was my third time attending the event as a member of the library foundation’s board of directors.
If you haven’t been to one of these events before, you should make time to do so this time next year. You’ll be inspired by the stories of the adult learners – their motivation for learning to read and write in English, their dedication in terms of time and energy to realize this goal. For some, the program makes it possible for them to read a book for the first time – in any language.
The stories shared by program volunteers are equally moving.
Solano County’s program dovetails with the state’s adult literacy program, which launched in 1984 and this year celebrates its 30th anniversary. Sandy Toste, who is now retired, got Solano County’s program off the ground in 1994, making this the local program’s 20th year.
The local program has grown through the years, first with the Reach Out and Read program, provided by the Solano County Library Foundation – also 20 years young this year. A host of other programs sponsored by the foundation and supported by others have followed. Along the way, the library itself has expanded its adult literacy programs to meet the needs of the communities the county system serves.
Library officials are setting the stage for the program’s 21st year of adult literacy coaching, and need volunteers to meet a growing demand.
An orientation session for those who may wish to become volunteer tutors takes place Wednesday at the Fairfield Civic Center Library, 1150 Kentucky St. Volunteers must be adults but do not need any teaching experience. Once trained, volunteers may tutor at their local library.
For an information packet, contact the library system’s literacy office at 784-1526 or visit www.solanolibrary.com/programs/literacy.cfm.
The Solano County Library kicks off its centennial celebration Saturday with festivities at the Solano County Events Center – the county’s original library, built in 1931.
A formal program begins at 9 a.m. and includes a visit from and comments by Gerry Maginnity, acting California state librarian. Two hours of family activities begin at 10:30 a.m. at the park area outside the building and will feature live music; circus acts, storytelling and deeds of daring by Nikolas Strubbe; rocket launches with the Lawrence Hall of Science Inventors Lab; crafts and tattoos for children; and library card sign-ups, technical demonstrations and book give-aways.
Libraries are a place of learning but are also a place of wonder and adventure. If you’ve been away for a while, drop by Saturday and renew your relationship with our library system and rediscover all it has to offer to young and old alike.
Reach Managing Editor Glen Faison at 427-6925 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GlenFaison.