ALBANY -- The Albany branch of the Alameda County Public Library celebrated a quiet 100th anniversary on Dec. 4, with the big observance planned for January.
"We celebrated in the singalong program with the kids," Branch Manager Deborah Sica said. "(We talked) about celebration and what it means to be 100 years old. At our monthly gaming program, I talked about the library being 100 years old and some of the kids asked how to give the library a present."
She added, "What I said to them was them being here was the present to the library. They were a little confounded by that."
The Albany Library was the fifth branch to open in what was then called the Alameda County Library Department, according to Wikipedia. The county department at the time was part of the Oakland Free Library.
Sica said she is digging into the library's history for a Jan. 26 event to be held in the main room of the adjoining Albany Community Center. The time will be announced soon, but it is expected to be in the afternoon. It will be a joint event in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Albany Historical Society.
Sica is working with the historical society, the Friends of the Albany Library, the city and the Alameda County Public Library on the event.
"We're going to have library trivia, some speakers, some crafts for the kids, various local leaders, I'll do a little bit of the library history as well," Sica said. "It will be free to the public. We will have exhibits in the library as well. We're going to pull out some of the ephemera from over the years. Some are from the library's collection, some are from the historical society's collection."
The history of the library is central to the history of Albany. Sica noted that many of the sidewalks around town are stamped "1913," the same year the library opened in a room on Solano Avenue just east of San Pablo Avenue, furnished by city trustees with Mrs. E.S. Hamilton as the custodian.
The county supplied some books and Albany residents agreed to supplement that collection by allocating $5 per month to purchase new volumes.
Soon, the library relocated to a newly-constructed second story on the then-City Hall located on Solano just west of San Pablo. In 1952, the library relocated to its own building at 1216 Solano, a popular location that became too cozy for the numerous users.
It moved into its current building on the site of the old Albany Hospital in January, 1994.