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Library hosts celebration
Carnegie libraries in operation in Northern California communities include the Biggs Library built in 1908; the Oroville Law Library built in 1912; the Grass Valley Library in1916; Nevada City in 1907; Lincoln in 1909; Dixon in 1913; Yolo in 1918; and the Sacramento main library built in 1918.
Andy C., a traveling gnome, dropped by the Bayliss Library on Tuesday to celebrate industrialist Andrew Carnegie's 177th birthday — sort of.
The actual gnome was delayed, so organizers of the event had a stand-in ready. It did not take away from the celebration.
Carnegie is responsible for the construction of the rural library built in 1917 on County Road 39.
It is one of more than 1,500 Carnegie libraries built worldwide during the 1900s, according to Bayliss Librarian Linda Bowers.
Willows and Orland also have Carnegie libraries, which were built in 1911 and 1918, respectively.
However, Bayliss has the distinction of its building still being used as a library, while the Willows building now houses a museum and Orland's is home to the City Council and community meetings.
Colusa's was built in 1906, but is now used as the Colusa Police Department headquarters.
Bayliss' library was one of the last ones built by the Carnegie Foundation, Bowers said, and is the only one erected in an unincorporated township.
It cost $4,000 to complete, she said, including the books and furniture.
"We still have the 1917 furniture," Bowers said, "but we have added a computer and Wi-fi."
She said all Carnegie libraries are celebrating Carnegie's birthday even though it was Nov. 25.
"They are all taking time to say thank you for building the library," she said.
To qualify, a community had to show a need for a library, provide the land and pay 10 percent of the annual cost, Bowers said. It also had to remain a free library open to everyone.
Bowers added that in 1920, the Bayliss Library reportedly had three times more books than any other library in the county.
Well wishers came Tuesday afternoon to look at a scrapbook filled with information about the library which was restored a few years ago.
They also munched on cookies and punch or looked at books like five-year-old Henry Schmies who glanced through a nice selection of children's books.
His mother, Melinda Schmies, said she uses the old library often.
"It's nice it's so close for my son," she said, and it is neat it is in a historical building. "I came here when I was a little girl."
Also attending Tuesday's celebration were Bayliss Library Board members Ellen McCorkle and Sally Senestraro.
The women said they are trying to promote more use of the library and get people to visit their community north east of Willows.
Activities such as a "Martha Stewart Day" last month, and a Star Gazing night on April 10, are designed to draw people there. A "Unique Treasures" sale also is planned April 12-13 to benefit the library. And, the Bayliss Book Club meets the third Tuesday of the month using books found in the library.
Willows Library Director Jody Meza said the traveling gnome got delayed which is why a "stand-in" was used.
But the real gnome was supposed to visit participating Carnegie Libraries and bring a traveling scrapbook.
"It has been a very pleasant experience getting to know Bayliss," Bowers said, after taking over librarian duties from long-time Librarian Linda Peele-Haddeman last year.
Bowers lives in Willows but finds Bayliss residents very congenial, she said, along with being honest about bringing books back to the library.
The Bayliss Library is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. — 6 p.m. at 7830 County Road 39. Phone 934-2287.