By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Last weekend sure started off with a bang! At 2:30 on Friday afternoon I found myself, along with a strong showing of other foothill residents and local dignitaries, on the patio outside our brand new library. The years of hard work and dedication by so many culminated with the official opening on Jan. 29.
We were blessed with warm temperatures and sunny skies. Supervisor Michael Antonovich was on hand to officiate, recognizing those in the community who had kept the dream alive and presenting them with proclamations. These included the group Friends of the Library and those members of the Town Council, past and present, who helped push the project through. It should be noted that Antonovich and Congressman David Dreier were instrumental in securing the millions of dollars needed for the project.
There were guest speakers at Friday’s ceremony including Mike Lawler of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley. Mike recounted how Dr. Benjamin Briggs, one of the founding fathers of the area, envisioned the corner of Foothill Boulevard and La Crescenta Avenue as the center of town. Mike then recounted the history of the area and the incarnations over the years of the site. Among its many faces, the corner was the former location of the La Crescenta Elementary School, then of a gas station and auto mechanic shop. But Friday’s grand opening brought the history of the site full circle. The La Crescenta Library is truly grand in its design and will hopefully be the home of many of our community meetings including the Town Council, the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley and others. It will be the center of town Benjamin Briggs imagined.
Encompassing 15,000 square feet, the new library is a huge improvement over the former 4,300 square foot facility. However, what was missing from the celebration was a beloved individual who truly personalized the former library – Vicky Guagliardo.
Vicky used to be the librarian at the old library. When you thought of the old library, you immediately thought of Vicky. She was always there to lend a hand and when she wasn’t helping kids, she’d be figuring ways to get more books. I think that it was her drive that helped raise the awareness for the need of a larger facility. But unfortunately Vicky wasn’t brought on to the staff at the new library. Seems like a mistake to me as she will surely be missed. Thankfully she is still active with the La Crescenta Woman’s Club and can be found around town.
After the grand opening, the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley hosted a reception for the unveiling of a six-foot bronze medallion installed in the foyer of the library. It shows three individuals who were important to the foothill area: Tongva leader Toypurina, Don Jose Verdugo and Dr. Benjamin Briggs. The beautiful medallion is a fitting homage to these individuals.
The library wasn’t the only “big” news in town. At La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, the CV Arts Council hosted a Baroque Bash. The bash featured a variety of musicians, both student and professional and according to organizer Sharon Hales, the event was beyond the Council’s wildest imagination.
Over at the high school was Senior Recognition Night for the varsity basketball players. Each graduating basketball player with his family was presented to the audience under a canopy of blue balloons. It was very moving as most of the players had been with the basketball program for most of their time spent at CVHS.
And beating Hoover 61-55 helped make the evening that much more memorable.