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The city’s smallest citizens wish their library a Happy Birthday!!

On this day–December 4, 1913–the Albany Library was born. In a Fourth of July souvenir program from that year, Albany was called the place “where climate, convenience and courtesy cancels competition.” Can’t beat that! Albany Library has lived up to all those C’s, always striving to be convenient and courteous. And, in this town of 18,000, without using any shady methods to cancel competition, we are still the only public library in town. Come see if we look good for our age!

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Learn about Covered California, the new “online” marketplace that makes it simple and affordable to purchase quality health insurance.

Covered CA representatives will be available at Albany Library to help answer questions and enroll participants on Tuesday, December 3rd starting at 12:00pm. All are welcome to visit and speak with representatives on a first-come, first-served basis.

http://coveredca.com  , http://infopeople.org/resources/aca  800.300.1506 (English) 800.300.0213 (Spanish)  Help is also available in 200 other languages.

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Once upon a time (in 1981) a confident but cautious librarian walked through the door of Albany Library to become its branch manager. Ronnie Davis wanted to succeed at the job, or, in her words, not to mess things up.

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Ronnie’s accomplishments can be seen by viewing the Retirement Party videos posted below! It was clear to all that she did not mess things up!

You can also read great articles about Ronnie’s years of service in Albany Patch and the Journal.

http://www.contracostatimes.com/west-county-times/ci_23816555/albany-library-manager-ends-memorable-tenure

Why did she succeed? Ronnie has the gift of common sense or “wise counsel.” It is not always calming or easy to hear, but it is usually wise.

This trait helped everyone succeed. As a library manager, she helped staff find perspective on the day’s events so we could focus on the work, itself, without spinning in circles.

Well, Ronnie’s last week as our branch manager is upon us. Since announcing her retirement early this year, we knew this week would come. It’s not too late to form a queue outside her door and ask her EVERYTHING SHE KNOWS!!!

For one thing, we’re NOT looking forward to life without post-its! Ronnie was a model of forward-thinking: from full-fledged agendas, to regular “what’s ahead” meetings, to tiny reminders of things left “to do!” I guess we’ll have to find our way without Ronnie’s post-its. Our new manager will–no doubt–keep our eyes on the prize (or, at least, on the calendar!)

On August 15, 2013, the staff will wish Ronnie a fond farewell. She has places to go and promises to keep, but we hope that Albany Library will always be a stop on her itinerary. To keep her coming back, we’ll try the ploy that works so well with other patrons: “P.S., your hold is here.”

Look through the album below to see Ronnie surrounded by a sea of familiar faces. The last photos show one of Ronnie’s proudest moments: promoting libraries on Safeway bags!

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On April 26, Albany Library hosted groups raising awareness for Victims Rights Awareness Week.  The information fair was coordinated by Kelli Sage of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office. Children and adults passing through the lobby on their way to the library stopped and picked up information and spoke with the presenters. One ingenious display gave children a chance to write about their own experiences as victims and how they stood up for their rights in difficult situations. The Albany event was part of a series of consciousness-raising fairs, hosted by different Bay Area libraries.

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It’s no secret that libraries matter to the people of Albany and surrounding communities. Adults, teens and children continue to stream through the open doors to use public computers, attend programs and browse for books and movies.

In recognition of National Library Week, Mayor Peggy Thomsen, read a proclamation honoring Albany Library. Ronnie Davis confirmed the statistics cited in the proclamation, introducing Library Board President, Rosalie Gonzales, and the new children’s librarian, Dan Hess.

The 2013 theme for Library Week is “Communities Matter.” See this motto come to life at Albany Library.

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Library Board News

The Albany Library Board met on Wednesday, January 23. The Board has been restructured to include five members, each appointed by a city council member. The new Library Board includes Hank Olson, Karen McKeown, Rosalie Gonzales, Alan Riffer and Karen Leeburg. Outgoing members–Sarah Whitmer, Linda Yamamoto, Leah Flanagan and Robert Lieber (not pictured)–were recognized for their conscientious service to the community, with combined service of over 24 years!  Judy Lieberman will continue to represent the City of Albany at these meetings–bringing her organizational expertise and commitment to fairness to the table.

The Board will continue to serve as advocates for the people of Albany, working to ensure that funds are used wisely and allocated properly.  Community input is encouraged and members of the public are always welcome to attend meetings–to be held on the 3rd Tuesdays of most odd-numbered months. (Please see Library and City calendars for actual dates. There will be no meeting in July.)

Outgoing Members, L to R Leah Flanagan, Sarah Whitmer & Linda Yamamoto (credit: Judy Lieberman)

Swearing in of new Library Board (cr: Judy Lieberman)

Swearing in of new Library Board – L to R: Rosalie Gonzales, Hank Olson, Alan Riffer, Karen McKeown and Karen Leeburg (credit: Judy Lieberman)

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The cheers and sighs, the clapping and the cringing are over for the time being. The candidates have spoken, the citizens have taken note. Not an ordinary night in Albany, but a night where nearly 300 gathered to express their collective curiosity. “Who are these guys?” “Which person’s vision will revitalize the country?”

After the televised debate, Professor of Cognitive Linguistics, George Lakoff took questions and reflected on the drama we had just seen. His analysis–both simple and complex–seemed more stimulating than the wrap-up on TV. (Incidentally, the main hall and foyer of the community center and the Edith Stone Room were filled to capacity, with 3 TV screens running.)

Dr. Lakoff showed how our own political speech and notions of justice and fairness spring from our frames of reference. He challenged us to discover our own moral imperatives and push our representatives to do the same. He exposed the folly of enlightenment rationality that supposes the “best argument” should win the debate. As he points out in The Little Blue Book, people rarely look to logic for persuasion. Rather, it is the “look of understanding and the tone of empathy” that wins. (Of course, it doesn’t take an H. L. Mencken to point out how often this empathy is fake, or how the handshakes get heartier when there are dollars pressed between.)

The Debate Watch on Tuesday was a hit for the whole community. The City of Albany, Alameda County Library, The Friends of the Albany Library deserve a huge round of applause for providing space, tech-savvy, staffing and funds to create this Town Hall Meeting. Catherine Taylor, who arranges the Second Tuesdays Poetry Series, was central to the evening’s success. Her interest in the way ordinary people speak of politics prompted her to suggest Dr. Lakoff as a guest speaker. We were pleased to have Pegasus Books on site to sell “The Little Blue Book,” and, of course, Dr. Lakoff, his wife and guests.

It was great to have Chris Pech from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters on hand to answer questions about voter registration and the upcoming election. We were honored to have Amelia Lopez from Assembly member Nancy Skinner’s office, who told Albany Library Manager, Ronnie Davis “she was ‘blown away’ by the community response and the role that libraries play in creating this kind of community forum.” A super thanks goes to Nancy Rubin for the great photographs showing democracy in action!

Commentator Lakoff spoke of the mirroring our brains perform as observers. We form connections with others because we form connections first in the neuronal circuitry of our noggins! Watching the debate with other voters–partisan or neutral–inspires us to think and act politically; it sparks conversations, nudging us to see how others see.

Albany Library is an ideal venue for watching the debate; as it is our mission to promote life-long learning and civic engagement. (We also have many binders full of women! Albany City Council recordings, for example!)

Remember to register for this election by October 23 and to vote on or by November 6.

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Juan L. Sánchez hails from Spain, but the entire world is his stage. Juan celebrated the many languages and cultures of the Albany community and told great stories about his songs and instruments. One story told how Africans enslaved in South America transformed the boxes that held the plantation crops into drums, knowing that owners could never take away their music: the heartbeat of the mind. Kids jumped up to join in and the whole audience was bouncing by the end of the show. See for yourself in the pictures and videos:

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Albany Community Center plaza was the scene of an inspired demonstration of flower power today! Brandishing sunflowers, the speakers and farmers from the Gill Tract down the street, gathered to address local citizens and the media. Albany Library’s pink stripes are the backdrop to the photos below, and the beautiful flowers planted by city gardeners show that the Library and Community Center are yet another green spot on Marin Avenue.

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Kelli Sage of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office brought an enthusiastic team of advocates to Albany on Thursday, April 26. The group hopes to raise awareness of the rights of crime victims. Library visitors were presented with an array of programs and agencies that help victims assert their rights and obtain justice. Kids had a chance to color pictures and learn about personal safety. The program was held at many libraries throughout Alameda County during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 22-28, 2012.

Alameda County Office of the District Attorney-Victim & Witness Assistance Division: (510) 272-6180, http://www.alcoda.org/victim_witness/

Alameda County Family Justice Center:  (510) 267-8800, www.acfjc.org

Family Paths (Parent Support Hotline & Referrals): (800) 829-3777, www.familypaths.org

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