By Perry Fein
Local families and community leaders gathered Saturday to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Crowell Public Library. A fun-filled day of activities was sponsored by the library’s board of trustees, Friends of the Library and the San Marino Public Library Foundation.
Early visitors were welcomed with a tour of the library, which was completed in 2008 at a cost of $17 million, $12 million of which was donated by private citizens.
Guests were treated to performances by the Huntington Middle School Chamber Orchestra and the San Marino High School String Orchestra.
Young families enjoyed a children’s story, told in both Mandarin and English, and children had the opportunity to get glitter tattoos or their faces painted. The winners of the San Marino Public Library Foundation’s Bookmark Design Contest were also presented.
At roughly noon, guests gathered in the Barth Community Room to hear from the library’s leaders and local dignitaries. President of the San Marino Public Library Foundation, Steve Domier, emceed, and many thanks were given to Suzanne Crowell, whose $5 million donation kick-started the massive outpouring of community philanthropy.
U.S. Rep. Judy Chu lauded the many achievements of the library and the impact it has had on the community, including its passport acceptance service, seminars offered by USC professors, and “brain aerobics” classes for seniors.
“The number of visitors each year is tremendous — 275,000 each year,” she said glowingly.
Among its top achievements, the Crowell Public Library was listed by the national trade publication “Library Journal” in the top 5% of libraries across the nation, Chu noted, and awarded the library a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.
State Assemblyman Ed Chau extolled the many important services offered by the library — including a “fraud prevention workshop” he had hosted in previous years — before giving the library a certificate of commendation on behalf of the California State Assembly.
Representatives from the offices of L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and state Sen. Anthony Portantino praised the library’s accomplishments and thanked the community on behalf of their employers.
City Librarian Irene McDermott thanked the various groups for sponsoring the event, and pointed out that the Friends of the Library raises $60,000 annually for the library to buy books. She thanked Suzanne Crowell for her generous contribution, and reminisced about meeting her the first time, joking, “I didn’t know who she was or why she was at the library so much — I just thought she liked mysteries.”
To close the event, the winners of the bookmark design contest were recognized and a cake was wheeled out before the crowd dispersed to see juggler David Cousin or to eat from the Mediterranean food truck parked outside.