March 19, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Ann Miller, 707-784-1506; firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM THE PRINTED PAGE TO THE DIGITAL AGE: 100 YEARS OF SOLANO COUNTY LIBRARY
“The more things change, the more they stay the same” is an adage as true as it is common. As the community looks back on 100 years of the Solano County Library the innovative spirit of those first intrepid librarians and library supporters is echoed in the tech-centric world of libraries today.
Like their forbears, present-day librarians work hard to bring the gift of reading and lifelong learning to the communities they serve. With storytimes at the mall, a library at juvenile hall, and a dizzying array of library programs from knitting circles to health insurance for kids, they are following in the footsteps of their librarian ancestors. In the early days of the Solano County Library, unwavering librarians brought books and even food to far-flung residents, music education to one-room schools, and reading materials written in German to war prisoners at Mare Island.
By 1920, a mere six years after the Board of Supervisors established it, the Solano County Library had eight branches and served 49 schools. Although Vacaville and Vallejo had their own libraries, the Solano Library worked with both of them, as well as the libraries in Benicia and Dixon. The early cooperation between those libraries is echoed by the current SNAP (Solano, Napa, and Partners) consortium which shares books, a catalog, and databases.
Books and reading are synonymous with libraries, but so too is a long legacy of adopting technology as a means to bring people and information together. Today, librarians navigate expensive licensing requirements to bring downloadable books, and the devices on which they are read, to their patrons. Early librarians were equally committed to keeping up with technology, introducing phonograph records in 1918 and an early fax machine in 1968.
For ten decades the Solano County Library has remained committed to making reading and information accessible, in formats that people can understand. Clara Dills, Solano County’s first librarian, borrowed books in Italian from the California State Library to bring to Collinsville, an Italian fishing village on the Sacramento River, because “none of the adults were able to read in any but their own language.” Solano County Library’s vigorous Adult Literacy Program celebrates 20 years this year, and is dedicated to helping English and non-English speakers learn to read and write.
Libraries have long enjoyed support due to their ability to adapt to the needs of their communities. In 1944 it was a Victory Branch in a Vallejo apartment building.The branch, like the apartments, sprung into existence to meet the influx of defense workers at Mare Island. In 1950, pamphlets entitled “How to Survive an Atomic Attack” were distributed at the library, answering a question that reverberated at a time when Hiroshima was only five years past. The year 1983 brought coin-operated computers and, over 13 years ago, the first electronic books. Now the Library offers a wide variety of online resources, including free car schematics, on-demand tutors, and museum passes, along with 8 locations for study, meetings, and free access to computers and Wi-Fi. By staying in touch with the needs, wants and aspirations of the people of Solano County, the library plans to stay relevant for the next 100 years.
The support that libraries have enjoyed, from the first women’s groups that lobbied them into existence to the widespread voter support evidenced by the 80% “yes” vote for the 1/8th of cent sales tax in 2012, can be credited to an almost constant adjustment of library services to the needs of the communities it serves. An anniversary party at the Solano County Events Center at 601 Texas Street in Fairfield, on April 5, 2014 kicks off a year of celebrating 100 years of libraries in Solano County.
April 5, 2014
Solano County Events Center (1931 Library), 601 Texas Street, Fairfield CA
Master of Ceremonies
Chair, Solano County Board of Supervisors
Acting California State Librarian
10:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
• Reception, Library Card Sign-ups, Tech Demonstrations and Book Giveaways
• Keith Stout and his Alive Music Orchestra
• Nikolas Strubbe’s Circus Acts, Storytelling and Deeds of Daring
• Rocket Launching with Lawrence Hall of Science Inventors Lab
• Crafts and Tattoos for Kids
April 9 • 3-4 pm John F. Kennedy Library, Vallejo, 505 Santa Clara Street, Vallejo
Leo Cavanaugh Concert
April 14 • 7 pm Vacaville Public Library-Cultural Center, 1020 Ulatis Drive
100 Things in Your Suitcase? Pack Like a Pro
April 23 • 3:30-4:30 Fairfield Civic Center Library, 1150 Kentucky Street
Anniversary Presentation: Magical Moonshine’s “Puppylocks and the Three Bears”
June 14 Suisun City Library’s Birthday Party, 601 Pintail Drive
July 8 • 7 pm Vacaville Public Library-Cultural Center, 1020 Ulatis Drive
Anniversary Party For Families: Don O’Brien’s Magical Science
August 8 • 10:30 am & 1 pm Fairfield Cordelia Library, 5050 Business Center Drive
100th Anniversary Party, Birthday Cake & Wild Things Animal Show
August 20 Springstowne Library, 1003 Oakwood Avenue, Vallejo
September 8 • 8-5 Solano County Administration Center, 675 Texas Street, Fairfield
Library Literacy Services Anniversary
October 10-12 Rio Vista Library at the Bass Festival Parade
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