President’s Message – June 2023

Karen Butter
Karen Butter, FAL Board President

Our Mini Used Book Sale in May was a wonderful success, delighting buyers and reducing our inventory by half. Many Book Sale shoppers found great bargains right across the hall at BFF, too! Thanks to Cindy Silva and Billy Reinschmiedt for coordinating the sale, Susan Schonberg for scheduling volunteers, and our hardworking team of volunteers for lifting boxes, organizing tables and checking out purchases. We hope everyone will join us again for the Big Used Book Sale at the O’Club on October 20-22.

Each year, the Alameda Free Library holds a summer reading program funded by your donations. This year’s theme is Find Your Voice. The program encourages children to read for 12 hours and complete 12 activities between June 1 and July 31. The more challenges children complete, the more prizes are awarded. Children who complete Level 2 get to choose their very own book to keep, and those who achieve Level 3 receive even more prizes! FAL is a very proud sponsor of this program.

Dewey’s Friends Cafe is currently seeking community members’ feedback on space design and food. Stop by the cafe sometime to pick up a survey (and a snack or two). Your feedback will help us build a new and improved cafe experience.

Finally, I encourage all Alamedans to visit the Library’s new exhibit in the Stafford Room, “Overflowing with Hope: The Hidden History of Japanese Americans in Alameda,” open now until July 23. At the turn of the century, many Japanese people immigrated to Alameda, where they built a thriving community. On February 2, 1942, the government designated Alameda as a Restricted Area due to the presence of the Naval Air Station. When President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066, Japanese Americans in Alameda were the first Californian group to be evacuated and eventually relocated to Topaz Mountain in Utah. All signs of Japantown vanished.

The library’s exhibit is the first of three parts in the Japanese American History Project funded by the National Park Service. This part documents the removal of citizens and businesses through images, testimonies and artifacts. In addition to the library’s exhibit, the material will be archived in the Densho Digital Repository and the Internet Archive. Library Director Jane Chisaki submitted the grant and worked with partners from the Buena Vista United Methodist Church, the Buddhist Temple of Alameda, the Internet Archive and Rhythmix Cultural Works to make this project possible. Brad Shirakawa is the Project Director.