The event will be held on the lawn outside the library and feature local artists, authors, poets, musicians and Native American artists. Photo courtesy of San Juan Bautista City Library.

This article was written by BenitoLink intern Kinsey Canez

Since 2018, Library Technician Lead Rochelle Eagen has been reimagining how the Carl Martin Luck Memorial Library can serve the San Juan Bautista community of 2,089 people.  


“Oftentimes people don’t even know that a library exists here,” Eagen said. To change this, she’s shifting focus to local events.


“The more events we have, the more people see that we’re here and realize that this is not just some building—it’s their building,” she said. “I try to put that in all of our paperwork: welcome to your library.”


Community will be at the forefront of the library’s Where the Art is, which takes place on Aug. 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Eagen said she hopes the event will resemble the kind of “art in the park” and “music in the park” gatherings that attended while growing up in Los Gatos.


Robert Vasquez, a Hollister resident who has partnered with Eagen to plan Where the Art Is, said it will be an arts festival of sorts, with 10 local artists, authors, and Native American artists attending to showcase their work. 


“There will also be some light music and maybe even some poetry or people who like to storytell or speak,” Vasquez said. “If folks are interested in doing some music or poetry or storytelling, then we would invite them to come and participate.” 


He said the event is important because local artists need support from their communities. 


When artists participate in showcases there can be a hefty price to pay for their spot in it, which can be conflicting for artists who take part in shows to sell their work. 


“The idea is to use the space to invite artists and offer street space so that people could come and show their work,” Vasquez said. 


Unlike previous art shows the library has hosted, this one will take place outdoors on the lawn area surrounding the building, Eagen said. “This change of scenery is done purposefully, “to draw people in for future projects at the community building, so just kind of a kickoff for an eventual expansion.” 


The expansion is part of a project that has been in the works for several years, known as Luck Park Master Plan, where the library is located. It adds a new building for community use, a multi-use performance area and more opportunities for outdoor seating. These are only a few of the updates reflected in RRM Design Group’s final plans for the area.


The additions and new landscape plans reflect community feedback gathered through a series of hybrid meetings and online surveys beginning in the summer of 2020. 


“The largest portion of the people said that they wanted trees to remain a major attribute of the block,” Eagen said of the public input the project received. “So a lot of the existing trees are staying and then they’re going to be incorporating more. They wanted quiet spaces. This was all based on community feedback.”


Construction will occur gradually. The first phase of the updated layout is expected within the next year with the installation of a Jim Jack Cabin interpretation. 


“This isn’t changing anytime soon,” Eagen said. “But we want to kind of start inching towards that with making people get used to it and kind of keeping it on the forefront of their thoughts that this could happen one day, and this is what we’d like to see.” 


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