Posted: Saturday, April 28, 2012 12:47 pm | Updated: 5:40 pm, Sat Apr 28, 2012
Carly Gelsinger Staff Writer
Library stages grand opening
Hundreds of people passed through the new library during its grand opening on Saturday, gaping at its size and beauty, and enjoying its services for the first time.
Anticipation built as Mayor Al Pinheiro, City Administrator Tom Haglund and Lani Yoshimura, head librarian, made speeches Saturday morning before cutting the wide red ribbon, letting the throngs of Gilroyans through double doors to finally enjoy the library they've waited for for years.
A classical quartet played in the lobby as people first entered, adding to the ambiance of the moment.
"This is stunning. Our tax dollars at work," Linda Arballo said to her friend, as they studied the map of the building in the lobby so they "wouldn't get lost."
"I voted for this," Arballo said, looking up in awe at the lobby's high ceiling.
Within minutes of the doors opening, children got comfortable on padded lounge chairs as their parents and grandparents read them stories out loud.
Gilroy dad Travis Finucane sat reading books at a table with his two daughters Julia, 3 and Madeline, 2. Finucane remembers going to the old library building, where he said rain leaked onto computers.
"It was a sad state of affairs," Finucane said with a smile. A software engineer for Yahoo, Finucane occasionally works from home, and said that he plans to bring his work to the library, since the grounds are so roomy and light.
Teens quickly discovered the young adult section and made themselves at home on the funky, brightly colored furniture.
"This is such a relaxing place to sit, I'll definitely come here after school to study," said 15-year-old Christopher High School freshman, Dominique Sandoval from a purple bench in the teen section.
Sandoval said with all the space, he'll feel comfortable spending more afternoons at the library, without feeling crowded or stifled.
"This is like the Titanic of libraries," he said of the 55,000-square-foot two-story building. Haglund announced before the doors opened that the library was completed under budget with a price tag of $34 million – $3 million less than expected.
Gilroy High School freshman Sarhay Luna, 15, sat at a table in a quiet corner of the teen section, studying world history vocabulary words.
"This is going to be an amazing place to do homework, especially if your house is loud," Luna said, who lives walking distance from the library. "Especially this section. It's so cozy and isolating, I can focus."
Mario Sanchez watched his daughters enjoy a costumed appearance by the Cat in the Hat in "The Nest," the children's reading room.
"We love every nook and cranny of the new library," said Sanchez, who said he was a full supporter of the library project.
"It doesn't even feel like Gilroy," Sanchez said. He said at the old building, the family would check out books at leave, but here they plan to spend entire mornings or afternoons, indulging in the space and amenities.
Outside, a troop of Aztec dancers in authentic feathered garb entertained several hundred people. Families bought ice-cream cones and children took pictures with costumed characters like Snoopy and Gil the garlic bulb.
Twelve-year-old Jillian Roberts stood near the circulation area with her dad, Joe Roberts, filling out a form for her first library card. Roberts said they were just driving by when they saw the balloons and remembered it was opening day.
"This is the biggest library I've ever seen," Jillian said.
As an avid reader, Jillian is thrilled to have her own library card and have access to so many books.
"This is going to save me a lot of money at Barnes and Nobles," Roberts said.
The community seemed to embrace the advice that Yoshimura gave the crowd before the ribbon was cut.
"Let the library make a difference in your life," she said. "And don't forget, that libraries change lives."
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