Pleasant Hill, we have an architect!!

The announcement arrived in my inbox days ago that the City of Pleasant Hill has selected architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ)–whose team includes design firm Margaret Sullivan Studio (MSS), the “national leader in the visioning, programming, and interior design of public libraries of the future”, according to the City’s Public Information Officer Martin Nelis–to build the new Pleasant Hill Library.

I’ll admit, there may have been some light to moderate mist in my eyes upon reading the news.

It’s really happening! It’s really really happening!! This is so exciting for our city and for all of us library lovers and library users, and even for all those elusive non-users and non-user library lovers out there. It cannot be overstated how valuable the library is to our community and how deeply it impacts our quality of life. And in a few years, we get to enjoy our most public of institutions in a brand new building that our community will help design. Pleasant Hill, there are so many exciting things in store for us.

But wait! There are already a ton of exciting things happening at our good ole library as fall programming amps up. September happens to be #LibraryCardSignUp month. Quick! There’s still time to get yours (actually, there’s no need to rush–a library card is always available and always free).


While you’re getting your always-free always-available library card be sure to check out some of the program offerings (which are free whether you have a library card or not), such as:

Maker Monday
Tinker Tuesday
Pajama Yoga Storytime
Pleasant Hill Citywide Reads
Lego Creator Club
Mike the Magician
Afternoon Yoga for Kids
Anime @ the Library
Latin Jazz Concert
Immigration Laws Class
Build a Book on Tinker Tuesday
Storytime, 4 times a week
Monthly Book Discussion Groups
Medicare Workshop
Eco Studio for up-cycled sewing
ESL Conversation Practice
Adults Learn to Read and Spell
1-on-1 Computer Tutoring
Teen Tutoring
Friends of the Pleasant Hill Library Book Sales

I mean, seriously. Look at that list! And that’s just the next month and a half.

Here are some of the things my 4-year-old son has learned at the library recently: how to build robotic Lego creations powered by remote control at Lego Creator Club, one of which appeared in the showcase in the library’s foyer; how to make LED, fabric die-cut, and regular old fashioned button pins (we have quite a collection going) and how to make and launch duct tape rockets at the Tinkers and Thinkers Innovation Faire; how to make (and then race) a car out of a shoe box, cds, tape and various odds and ends at the Junkyard Derby on Tinker Tuesday; and of course, he’s practicing his reading. Yup, at 4 my son can read due in large part to how much time we spend at the library and how many books we check out and read at home: our current record is 51 at one time. My son gets SO excited about the library–about the books and about the activities. And “soon” he will get to get super excited about the new space.

Our takeaways

Video by C. McPherson, age 4 (that’s yours truly driving).

Pleasant Hill Public Information Officer Martin Nelis reported that “it is anticipated that the complete design phase of the library will take approximately 18-24 months to complete. Construction of the new building is expected to begin late 2019 or early 2020 with anticipated completion in 2021.”

Remember, we citizens of Pleasant Hill and Contra Costa County, have a chance to weigh in on what we want to see at our new library through upcoming workshops and public meetings. The first one is slated for November.

Still on the fence about why we need a new library in the Digital Age? Well, while awaiting the City’s news, I happened to read a great article by Oleg Kagan on Medium about how library visits have been steadily increasing: “Between 1990 and 2014, visits to public libraries grew by a whopping 181%,” Kagan wrote. He highlighted all the fantastic reasons to visit your local library such as “responsive, unique, and high-quality program offerings; more open professional and institutional attitudes; and the embrace of a user-centered approach to technology.”

Then I read another great article titled “You can do WHAT at the library?” by St. Augustine, Florida mom Alexandra Phillips who points out you can (I love this) “celebrate your inner nerd” at libraries as well as find the “elusive mom friend” and “read to a dog.”

Need more reasons why we should be so excited about our library? Consider this conclusion by Kagan:

Libraries will continue to be the place where curiosity comes to grow and thrive, where every person will always be welcome, where the freedom to read and explore shall always be protected, and where the private intellectual and spiritual pursuits of the public will always be respected. That is why libraries and librarians will continue to serve their communities with dignity and honor.

Libraries are important, so so important. So important, in fact, that I recently applied to library school. I should be finished just in time for the completion of our new library. When I told my son my news he said, “Mommy I don’t want you to go to school to become a librarian because I like hanging out with you and I won’t be able to if you work in the library.” I pointed out to him that we already spend so much time at the library that this is a really a win-win job situation for us. He seemed okay with that.

One afternoon while I reading about the San Jose State University’s Master of Library and Information Science program, my husband sent me this GIF:



That my husband sends me perfectly perfect GIFs is one of the many many reasons I love him. I mean, this clip says it all, right? Well, almost. Darren Criss could be walking through a storytime or a room full of Legos or sewing machines or 3D printers or kids doing yoga. Because libraries are so much more than books these days. Holding a library card–or even simply visiting the library–is empowering. It is life changing. Guaranteed. Quietly. Or loudly. But definitely perfectly.

Originally published on 9/26/17 at

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