A jubilant crowd of about 500 turned out Saturday to herald the grand opening of the new .
"We are dedicating this facility for the youth of today and for years to come," Mayor Al Pinheiro told attendees. "The foresight that the community showed in voting to hold true to making this library come to realization... this will be a valuable resource for life-long learning for decades to come."
Lani Yoshimura, manager and community librarian for the library, asked the crowd, "Can we cook or can we cook?"
"This is far better than I could have dreamed," she continued. "The great thing about a library is that it can be your best friend for the rest of your life."
Dignitaries such as Santa Clara County Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Assemblyman Luis Alejo and professional boxer attended the dedication ceremony and took part in the ceremonial ribbon cutting. The entire was also in attendance.
While officials and professional athletes lent star-power to the event, the celebration was really about letting the residents of Gilroy enjoy their new library for the first time.
"This is such a great day for everybody," said Adrian Noara, 38, of Gilroy. "I'm excited for the new technology and buildings available here. I think this library is even better than the one in Morgan Hill."
Noara, a teacher, said that while he used the old library once or twice, he could see himself escaping from the summer heat with a book in the new site's cool reading rooms.
"It's just wonderful," said Angela Contreas, 56, of Gilroy as she gazed up at the library's lofted ceilings. "It's state of the art, huge and organized. I don't even remember the last time I was in a library, but I think I might become a library person here."
Denise Besson Silvia, 38, of Gilroy was waiting in line with an armful of books with her 7-year-old daughter, Kaila, who was going to get her first library card.
"It's absolutely beautiful and grand," she said of the library. "There's no comparison between this library and the old one."
Yoshimura said that with the added space—from 9,000 square-feet at the old library to 55,000 here—will allow library staff to offer more services to the community.
"Our children's reading program will be expanded," she said. "We also want to start a 'Reading Buddies' program, where a trained animal comes in and children can read to it. That will probably happen over the summer."
Yoshimura said that a computer training program for adults, enhanced teen programs and tours of the eco-friendly building are all on tap at the new library.
The entire Santa Clara County Library literacy program is also moving its headquarters here, she said, allowing for the potential of greater collaboration in programming.
While these are just some ideas of what will go on at 350 West Sixth St., Yoshimura said that with more room comes endless possibilities.
"We want to do things better than we have before," she said. "Now, with all these various resources, particularly space, we can do a lot of the programs that we've never really been able to do well."
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