President’s Message – March 2021

Karen Butter, FAL Board President

The February author and docent talks were outstanding. Since April 2020, we have had over 3,000 registrations for our events! A special recognition goes to the Rotary Club of Alameda for supporting the two wonderful February programs on Black artists – many of whom we had never heard of before, but they should have been part of our education. The art is amazing, heart-wrenching, and reflects the Black experience. Here are a few comments from attendees: “Thanks for another really informative and thought-provoking presentation” and “Thank you Sherrill, this is more than needed education. It is mind and heart expanding.”

The February authors – Elsa Hart and Robin Sloan – discussed the background for their books: Elsa chronicled her journey in China leading to her incredible mysteries and Robin’s discovery of early Alameda, maps, and sunken ships in the Bay as a settings for his writing – and his attempts to make sourdough inspired his latest book. My favorite comment from his talk was, “The Public Library raised me.” He talked about his earliest memories from the Troy, Michigan library sitting among the stacks.

We recorded three of the four February Friends @ Home events, so if you weren’t able to join the livestream I encourage you to watch the recordings at our YouTube channel.

March is a continuation of excellent programming: Please note that a few events begin during the day since presenters live in different parts of the world. I look forward to seeing everyone at Friends @ Home.

Finally, we have some data on use of the Alameda Free Library. From March 2020 through January 2021 the Library checked out 247,510 items compared to 285,002 for the prior nine months. For the past five months of Library Take-Out, 12,690 bags have exited the front doors and there have been 30,000 audio/eBook downloads. Despite closed doors the Library staff are doing an amazing job in continuing to provide service to Alamedans.