Art & Culture

SBC Free Library Celebrates 30 Years of Literacy Programming

Library motto “Making It Happen Together” crystallizes the sentiments of supporters, staff and community.

On Sept. 18, community and staff celebrated the 30th anniversary of California Library Literacy Services throughout California and at the San Benito County Free Library. From the statewide launch 30 years ago until today, the library has actively supported children and adults as they make their way toward reading and writing independence.

State grants, Friends of the Library, and individual donors sustain successful activities like tutoring, story time, computing, and the bookmobile. Staff guide learners to connect with literature of their interests and at levels just above their literacy skills, thus challenging them in positive ways. Unlike other communities in California, San Benito County does not maintain a full-fledged adult education program where students enroll in day and evening English courses for speaking, reading, and writing. The county depends on the good will of the community to make sure this job gets done at the Library.

And so thought the California State Library that sent Jacquie  Brinckley, a representative to help us celebrate. Leaders Ray Espinosa, chief administrative officer for San Benito County, Bill Avera, Hollister city manager, and Reed Sanders, representing Senator Anthony Cannella’s office, shared their appreciation for a job well done. Head Librarian Nora Conte received, on behalf of the library and staff, a framed proclamation from the U.S. House of Representatives signed by Congressman Sam Farr.

The event celebrated the past; now the library can enjoy tools to take the community into the future. Nora Conte and her staff announced the launch of a new Library website they have built together along with partners such as ENKI (e-books) and Treehouse Learning. The website expands library services far beyond the print collection. Literally, now there is something for everyone. Youngsters and adults will find age-appropriate technology courses, for example website design and HTML, all online. Stop by to meet new staff member, Julie Oborny, the youth services librarian.

A blue-ribbon cutting ceremony officially opened the library’s new technology lab, stuffed with new desktop computers and iPads along with a large screen for teaching and demonstrations.

The recurring theme and motto at the Library, “Making It Happen Together," crystallizes the sentiments of Library supporters, staff and community.

Lois Locci

A Hollisterian since 1999 (and a Silicon Valley escapee), Dr. Locci taught English and Intercultural Communication at De Anza College in Cupertino for years before adding a second career as chair of the education department of UC Extension, providing professional training in four counties and three countries. Also at UC, Dr. Locci led the development of Advanced Placement® and honors courses for the University of California College Prep Online until retiring in 2012. She served a four-year term as Trustee for Gavilan Joint Community College District and currently serves on the board of BenitoLink. She lives with her extended family in "Southside Valley."