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Rincon Valley Library celebrates 20 years

Monday, August 25th, 2014 | Posted by


Mayor Bartley delivering the proclamation.

Mayor Bartley delivering the proclamation.

Rincon Valley Library is celebrating its 20th anniversary through September, starting with a party on Aug. 23 that included a visit by Curious George, speeches, cupcakes, music by the Hot Frittatas and a proclmation read by Mayor Scott Bartley.

Among the many whereases was a long list of accomplishments, beginning with the usual functions of a library and moving to its “excellent reference service and homework help; outstanding reader’s advisory” and programs that include story time, craft programs and professional entertainment.

The library on Montecito Boulevard opened Aug. 21, 1994, with so few books in the children’s section they were displayed with covers facing out so the shelves wouldn’t look bare, said Jain Erla of Guerneville, the library’s first branch manager. “The (visitor’s) average age was 65 before (Maria Carrillo) high school was built,” she said, adding that now, “the library is a focal point for the community.”


Rincon Library Staff, L to R: Children’s Librarian, Laura Wright, Retired Branch Manager Anne Marie Murphy, Julie Johnson, Branch Manager Jennifer Duran, Tiffany Bronson.

“I come here all the time,” said Joan Parsons, 83, of Santa Rosa, who was browsing through DVDs prior to the speeches. “I love the building, the accessibility, the staff and the evening book club.”

Parsons said the group is lively, engaging and thought-provoking. Babette Allcock, 60, of Santa Rosa, added that relationships form over the discussions, citing an instance in which book buddies became bocce ball buddies.

And that’s not just true of the book group. Allcock, a nine-year library volunteer, said the preschool moms often enjoy a picnic lunch in the park together after storytime and exchange daycare.

The library is also a leader in children’s summer reading programs, said Jennifer Duran, 46, of Santa Rosa, the library’s current branch manager. Duran began as a children’s librarian and has been at the branch for 10 years.

Duran instituted a year-round, adult reading program this year called the 20/20 Book Challenge in honor of the anniversary that she calls “highly successful.”

Adults are challenged to read and review 20 books in one year. At the end of the year, those who completed the program will receive a “I took the 20/20 Book Challenge at Rincon Valley Library” T-shirt. The group’s 135 participants range in age from teens to early retirement.

Though people of all ages frequent the Rincon Valley Branch, seniors and school-aged kids are the biggest portion of the patrons served, Duran said. The branch’s proximity to Oakmont brings in a lot of seniors and the many schools in the neighborhood assure a constant stream of kids when school is out. “It’s always hustling and bustling.”

The free celebrations continue through Sept. 27:

2 p.m. Saturday — “Sing and Dance with Tim Cain,” an all ages concert with award-winning children’s recording artist.

11 a.m. Sept. 10 — Birthday story time and cupcake social for children 0-5.

11 a.m. Sept. 13 — “Build a LEGO Library,” children 5-12.

3:30 p.m. Sept. 25 — “Design your own Sharpie tie-Dye T-Shirts,” youth 12-19.

2 p.m. Sept. 27 — Comedy for adults with Flying Leap Improv Theatre Ensemble.

The Rincon Valley Library, 6959 Montecito Blvd., is open at 10 a.m. Tuesday throughSaturday. Info: 537-0162, sonomalibrary.org.

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Ann Hutchinson is our Santa Rosa correspondent.
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