Friday, December 15, 2006

Cordelia Welcomes New Library

Cordelia Welcomes New Library
By Ben Antonius

Cordelia celebrated the opening of a new library on Thursday. (Photo by Gary Goldsmith/Daily Republic)

FAIRFIELD - Finally.

After about six years of talking, planning and eventually building, the city opened the Cordelia library to the public Thursday morning.

Politicians, city employees, library workers and students from nearby schools listened to a series of speakers before barreling through the doors at about 11 a.m.

"It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood," said Solano County Librarian Ann Cousineau, paraphrasing kids TV host Mister Rogers.

The two-story building on Business Center Drive will house not only the library but also some city offices and a private tenant whose rent will help cover operating costs for the building.

The library is clearly the big draw though. Until now, Cordelia residents had to drive into town to go to the city's main library on Kentucky Street.

As his sons filled out applications for new library cards, Jim Patchen said his family has been going to Benicia to use the library there.

"It's just a great addition to our community," he said.

Ten-year-old Matthew Patchen was planning to check out a big reference book about birds and 8-year-old Joseph Patchen was clutching a book on dental care careers.

The new building is "really nice," Matthew said.

"These are community gathering places," Assemblywoman Lois Wolk said before the library opened. "They are safe places to be after school and on the weekends."

As librarians predicted before the opening, the computers, DVDs and children's book section were the most popular for the morning crowd. The bank of computers by the front was occupied only moments after the doors opened.

The library will have 40 public computers, group study rooms, a quiet study area and meeting space. Librarians said the most popular programs, including children's story hour, would likely be held in the meeting rooms.

There are separate areas for reference books, DVDs, young adult literature and books in Spanish. At the rear of the library is a large section dedicated to children's books.

In his remarks, Fairfield Mayor Harry Price recalled the six-year "odyssey" of getting money for the building after California voters approved a $600 million library bond in 2000.

After its first application was rejected, the city tried again, bringing letters from grade-school students asking for the library. Wolk and state Sen. Mike Machado, D-Linden, who both testified on behalf of the city's application, were the keynote speakers Thursday.

Machado said his mother's 45-year career as a librarian convinced him of their importance. He also discussed the importance of education in general, praising the Green Valley Middle School jazz band - which performed at the event - as an example of why "support of the arts in schools is so very, very important."

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

At A Glance


Location: 5050 Business Center Dr., Fairfield

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday; 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Number of items: 47,000, including books, DVDs, CDs and audio books

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