When Bill was in Big Sur for the music festival, Henry and I planned for a full day of library hop to keep us occupied. We used to visit the local libraries a lot when I stayed home with him, and we still do once a week, albeit most are very short visits now, to pick up and drop off material. Many of the local branches had gone through extensive renovation and re-building in the last few years, thanks to library taxes in City of San Jose and County of Santa Clara. We haven't had much chance to enjoy these new branches.
The library hop idea came from my yarn shop hop last month when I visited 19 stores from peninsula to Carmel in three days, took pictures and wrote reviews about them. We went through a few options -- trains (he's mostly out grown), Legos (too few stops), book stores (whose money?), and decided library would be the safest bet. We can check out something from every stop and most likely it won't cost us a penny.
First stop, our regular hang out, San Jose Public Libraries West Valley branch. During the renovations the libraries put some interesting public arts in each branch. This one scored an artichoke sculpture. It's placed right under the rain gutter from the roof, so on a rainy day the water pours right into the middle of the artichoke, an interesting sight.
Henry is holding a big stack of audio books I reserved. Look forward to my latest reading list in a month or two.
Next stop was Saratoga library, in the Santa Clara County library system. Henry's teacher has recommended this branch and Henry has been looking forward to the visit for awhile. It's a very large structure, very diversified collection and visitors.
Next on the map was Cupertino library, also in the Santa Clara County system. The Chinese collection here is the biggest in the area, occupying nearly a quarter of the second floor, at least five long rows of shelves. I used to work down the street and walked here at my lunch hour.
Our last stop was Santa Clara city library, not part of any system and I had to apply for a new card since I couldn't find the old one. The library was rebuilt a few years ago, expanded to be at least three times of the original. Henry was there with his grandparents for the opening ceremony. But I haven't been the to new building, only seen it from the outside when we drove by. My bookclub friend Sarah raves about this place.
And it turned out to be everything I've heard and then some. The knitting book selection is huge for a library -- no comparison to any of the South Bay Knitters' personal collection, but still, I found books I haven't seen before.
There are lots of chairs around, and reading nooks scattered all over the place. This is a view from the upstairs patio, looking out to Santa Clara Central Park. I could hardly tear Henry away from this place. We are certainly going back!
I had on the agenda to show Henry the Dr. King library in downtown San Jose, the main library in the city system. It's the biggest in the area, combining a collection from San Jose State University. One of these days we will have to do another library hop to cover more grounds.