I attended the Signal Hill Parks and Recreation Commission meeting last Wednesday evening to get an update on the new proposed library. Seeing all the new plans was very exciting, and although the details may not be hammered out yet, I think we are certainly on the way to a new, state-of-the-art experience for our little city.
I have fond memories of my Signal Hill Elementary School days with visits to my school library as well as the Signal Hill Public Library. Although I was fortunate to have a nice collection of books at home, I loved checking out reading material that was fresh and new. At the school library I was drawn to age-appropriate biographies of famous people and enjoyed reading about careers for girls. I must have checked out the book about “airline hostesses” more than a dozen times.
When I first visited the public library in Signal Hill, it was located on the top floor of city hall. The dark wooden shelves were filled with mystery in a setting that was sure to keep us kids “hushed.” If we did have a notion to be a bit noisy, our librarian, Mrs. Brady, would quiet us down with a stern look or a quick “shhhh!” I wasn’t afraid of Mrs. Brady, but I sure did respect her. I believed she knew everything. If I asked her about a topic of interest, she guided me to a shelf filled with just the right books. Her library had books I considered more fun than the ones I found at school. I read about teddy bear picnics and Babar the Elephant and was introduced to the author Beverly Cleary, who told tales about Henry Huggins, Ramona and Beezus, and other interesting characters.
As I grew older, the library was moved to the basement of city hall, and although the atmosphere looked different we still had Mrs. Brady to keep us on the right path. Years later the library was taken out of city hall and moved to its current location– next to the police station. Even though Mrs. Brady now resides in the heavenly bookstacks in the sky, the love and guidance continues at our Signal Hill library. Card catalogues have been replaced with more technological ways of searching for books, and computers are available for use by children and adults alike. With DVD players, laptops and Kindles being staples in many homes, the library has taken on an entirely different function. It is no longer just a place to read or do homework; it is a place to explore and interact with others visiting the library. You can even check out movies and travel videos. Things are changing in libraries across our country, and I find it thrilling to know that our little city will be keeping in step with changing times.
If you did not have a chance to attend the Parks and Recreation meeting the other night, do take the opportunity at the next Signal Hill City Council meeting and take a look for yourself. The meeting will take place at city hall on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7pm.
For more information on Wednesday evening’s meeting see page 1.