Saturday, May 06, 2006

Library Visit #4.

"El futuro es una pagina en blanco. Que escribiras en ella?"
[The future is a blank page. What will you write on it?]

This wonderful invitation to change the future is etched on the new artwork panel that welcomes patrons into the newly redesigned Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library. The Grand Opening Celebration was this morning, complete with live music (Mariachi Relampago), presentations by Brenda Branch (APL Director) and by special dignitaries, and recognition of the Terrazas Family. Artist Connie Arismendi described how work on the Terrazas Branch Library Art in Public Places Project. I met with Brenda Branch, Terrazas Branch Library Staff (including Steve Reich and Joanna Nigrelli), and some of the dignatories--including Congressman Lloyd Doggett, former Mayor Gus Garcia, State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos, and Austin Council Member Lee Leffingwell, Place 1. I visited with visitors from one of Austin's sister cities in Saltillo, Mexico, who create art for public places based on indigenous Mexican traditions.I sat near a family that was checking out 26 items, including 23 books and 3 DVDS! Funding from the remodeling came through a 1998 bond package approved by voters.

Some quotable quotes:

Doggett: "Sometimes libraries, despite our love for them, don't get the priority in the budgetary process." Doggett noted especially the library's Wired For Youth Center and its Immigration Center.

Barrientos reminded us that "nosotros tienen que hacer por nuestros ninos." We have to do this for our children. "We remember all the years when people came and fought for us."

Former Mayor Gus Garcia, founder of the Mayor's Book Club, reminded us that "in this city we protect the rights of human beings" and that "it is enormously important that we keep our children, and our adults for that matter, reading." His favorite bumper sticker is "Keep Austin Reading!"

Arismendi reminded us that "libraries are where dreams are born. Books give us the ability to mediate space and time. Heroism is what we do on a day to day basis as people. People show acts of heroism by giving their time, giving their time to kids."

What a wonderful dia! What a wonderful celebration!