Just off of Highway 101 in Gonzales, California, we drove into a shopping center in search of a sandwich. As we parked, we were surprised to find, tucked between an auto parts store and a nail salon: the County Library. It was Sunday. It was closed. Two posters hung in the smoke-glass windows that said, "Read."
At first we thought it a strange place for a library, but then we thought better. What a great place for a library! Need new wiper blades? Check out a book while you're there. Get a book to read while you get your nails done. If you have to walk by constantly you might be more likely to go in. Accessibility (as I keep hammering and yammering about) is everything.
Even on Sunday a few people were hanging around. A chihuahua took a stroll, checking out all the parking spaces as usual, it seemed. Gonzales is a growing city of more than 8,400 people, the majority of them are of Hispanic or Latino origin, and are families with two or more kids, according the the city's website. As you can see, it's in the middle of an agricultural area. At the sandwich shop we watched a nine-year-old girl order for her father, who spoke little English, even though all the sandwich makers were bilingual. I wonder what kinds of books she checks out from the library.
Then, we were back on the road. In Morro Bay, we found otters reading in bed…
Now, what do we have to do to convince all the shopping malls that they need libraries, too?