Archive for the ‘Library’ Category

See live animals at Antioch Library Wed., July 10

Tuesday, July 9th, 2024
Photo: Antioch Community Library

By Antioch Community Library

Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 1:30 pm for an exciting presentation by Wildmind Science Learning as we are transported to the tropical world of the rainforest. Featuring live animals such as the armadillo, coendou, macaw, skink, and spectacled owl, audience members will be introduced to the wide variety of animals and plants that call the rainforest home.

The Antioch Library is located at 501 W. 18th Street. For more information about the library visit Antioch | Contra Costa County Library.

Free Friday Family Movie Matinees at Antioch Library

Friday, June 28th, 2024
Graphic courtesy of Antioch Library.

By Contra Costa County Library – Antioch

Beat the heat this summer with our Family Movie Matinee at the Antioch Library! We will be showing popular new releases on Friday afternoons at 1:30 p.m. Come by and enjoy the air conditioning, some popcorn, and a great film.

Generously supported by the Friends of the Antioch Library.

The Antioch Library is located at 501 W. 18th Street. For more information call (925) 757-9224 or visit

Digital Literacy Classes at Antioch Library in June & July

Thursday, June 13th, 2024

Sign up for computer classes by TechExchange hosted by the Antioch Library. Limited space is available. Register at

Opinion: It’s time to take a hard look at public libraries

Monday, April 15th, 2024

By Marc Joffe

Like mom and apple pie, the public library seems so intrinsically good that it should be beyond criticism. But like any institution that consumes millions of tax dollars, public libraries should not be free from scrutiny. And the facts are that neighborhood libraries have largely outlived their usefulness and no longer provide value for the public money spent on them.

In this fiscal year, Contra Costa, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are collectively spending $270 million to operate their library systems, with some cities chipping in extra to finance extended operating hours. Contra Costa County is spending $20 million of state and county funds to build a new library in Bay Point, and El Cerrito voters may see a sales tax measure on the November ballot, part of which will go to building a new library as part of a transit-oriented development near a BART station.

The public library’s historical functions of lending physical books and enabling patrons to view reference materials are being made obsolete by digital technology. An increasing proportion of adults are consuming e-books and audiobooks in addition to or instead of printed books, with younger adults more likely to use these alternative formats.

In response, libraries have tried to reposition themselves as “third places:” alternatives to homes and offices where people can relax, learn, and socialize. But the private sector offers numerous third places of its own, with coffee houses being the most common.

In Walnut Creek, the public library has responded by adding its own coffee shop, but just a few minutes away, residents and visitors can relax and enjoy free wi-fi at the Capital One Café at no cost to taxpayers and without being required to buy a cup of joe.

While no third place used by the public can be guaranteed to be safe and clean, private operators have a stronger incentive to provide an attractive environment because they otherwise risk going out of business.

They also face fewer legal restraints in enforcing public decorum. A 1991 federal court decision prohibited a New Jersey public library from “barring patrons who are not reading, studying or using library materials, who harass or annoy others through noisy activities or by staring, or whose ‘bodily hygiene is so offensive’ that it is a nuisance to others.”

As the Antioch Herald reported in February, the Antioch library had to be temporarily closed after multiple incidents “including a couple having sex openly in the bathroom, a wanted criminal using a library computer who was later removed by Antioch police, a racist letter left on the service desk and intoxicated library patrons acting aggressively.” The Contra Costa Public Library, which operates the Antioch facility reopened it four days later after negotiating an emergency contract for private armed security and arranging for a patrol car to monitor the exterior.

Library advocates argue that their public terminals offer essential internet access to those in need. But some patrons use free internet access at the local library to view pornographic content, sometimes to the distress of other terminal users including children. And low-income individuals are eligible for the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program which provides a free smartphone with internet access.

Like local post offices, neighborhood libraries once served an important community function but are now becoming increasingly irrelevant. And, as with post offices, libraries continue to receive funding because they enjoy support from a relatively small but vocal segment of the population, while the rest of us are usually too reluctant to question their utility.

Marc Joffe is a federalism and state policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

Antioch Library to reopen on Tuesday, February 20

Sunday, February 18th, 2024
Source: Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe’s official Facebook page.

All Contra Costa County Libraries will be closed February 19 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

By Brooke Converse, PIO, Contra Costa County Library

The Antioch Library will reopen for regular hours of operation on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.

The Contra Costa County Library announced the temporary closure of the Antioch Library on February 16, citing repeated dangerous incidents over the last few months that have threatened the safety and security of patrons and staff.  (See related article)

After consultation with the County Administrators Office and County Counsel, the Library was able to negotiate an emergency contract to provide a private armed security guard and patrol car to monitor the parking lot and library property. The Library already has a private security officer inside the branch during all library open hours.

“The Library will also be working with Contra Costa Public Works to repair and reinforce the security fence and to upgrade the security camera system,” said County Librarian Alison McKee. “The Library will be in close contact with the City of Antioch about how they can best support the safety of library patrons, staff and the surrounding neighborhood.”

Library services at the Antioch Library, including holds and the book drop, will be available beginning at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, February 20.

The safety of patrons and staff will continue to be a top priority for the Library.


To see the regular hours for the Antioch Library at 501 W. 18th Street click, here and for the Prewett Library in the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park, 4703 Lone Tree Way, click, here.

The Antioch Library on W. 18th Street. Photo: CCC Library

About the Antioch Library

The staff at Antioch Library welcomes you. Our 11,000 square foot space houses a large collection of materials selected with the Antioch community in mind. New materials arrive just about every week and whether you are searching for a bestseller or classic work, popular DVD, or audiobook to ease the daily commute, you’re likely to find it here. Exciting programs abound for all ages and are sponsored by the Friends of the Antioch Library. Local history resources and a growing Spanish language collection round out the collection. Additionally, Project Second Chance staff and volunteers are ready to assist with adult literacy needs. Free access to the internet delivered through our network of new computers satisfies any number of information searches.

The Prewett Library is located inside the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park on Lone Tree Way. Photo: CCC Library

About the Prewett Library

Opened in January 2011, the Prewett Library is located within the Antioch Community Center. Prewett is an “express library” where customers can pick up their requested materials as well as browse through nearly 9,000 items including bestsellers, teen books, magazines, audiobooks, CDs, DVDs, and materials for children. The library offers free Wi-Fi, has one Early Literacy workstation for children and is adjacent to the Antioch Community Center’s technology lab which houses 25 computers.

Antioch Library closed due to dangerous incidents until further notice

Friday, February 16th, 2024
The post on the Antioch Library Facebook page Friday, Feb. 16, 2024.

Prewett Library in the Antioch Community Center remains open

UPDATE: “I am shocked…” – Hernandez-Thorpe in letter to county administrator

Library working to add additional security guard in parking lot, repair security fence

Closed “after repeated dangerous incidents over the last few months that have threatened the safety and security of patrons and staff.” – Brooke Converse, PIO, CCC Library

County Board of Supervisors consulted before closure; city manager informed Friday afternoon; acting police chief says no communication with library, not notified of closure until Friday night

By Allen D. Payton

According to a post on the Facebook page Friday afternoon, Feb. 16, 2024, the Antioch Library is closed until further notice but without explanation. In a Friday post on the Contra Costa County Library website the closure was announced and provided additional details. It reads:

Antioch Library Closed Until Further Notice

“Beginning Saturday, February 17, 2024, the Antioch Library will be closed until further notice.

The Contra Costa County Library has made this difficult decision after repeated dangerous incidents in the last few months that have threatened the safety and security of patrons and staff.

During the closure, the Library will be working to implement further security measures so we can reopen as soon as possible. These will take some time to complete, and we do not have an estimated date for reopening. We will continue to keep you updated on our progress.

If you have questions about library materials on hold, please contact us.

The book drop will be closed. Please return books to the Prewett LibraryPittsburg Library, or any other Contra Costa County Library. You may also hold onto your returns until after the Antioch Library reopens. The Library will automatically extend the due dates on your materials.

We apologize for the short notice and the inconvenience but the safety of our patrons and staff is a top priority.”

In addition, all Contra Costa County Libraries will be closed February 19 in observance of Presidents’ Day.

All five councilmembers were asked if they had been in contact with either the Antioch or county librarians about the situation. In addition, Acting Police Chief Joe Vigil and the APD media relations officers were asked what is being done to work with the library to increase safety. Finally, a spokesperson for the Contra Costa County Library was asked for more details on what is being done and if they will be hiring private security to supplement the Antioch Police efforts, since the department is currently depleted of active sworn officers.

UPDATE 1: Mayor Responds by Sending Letter to County Administrator, Says No One in City Informed

In a Friday night letter to County Administrator Monica Nino, Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe wrote:

“Dear Administator [sic] Nino:

As mayor of the City of Antioch, I am writing to express my concern regarding the recent closure of the Antioch Branch of the Contra Costa County Library. To say that I am shocked at the overnight closure of the library is an understatement, given that at no point were Antioch residents given warning of this possibility.

I am even more concerned about the reasons for the Library’s closing, specifically safety concerns. According to our city administration, no one in the City of Antioch, including the police chief, was informed of any safety concerns by Contra Costa County regarding the library.

While I recognized that the County is responsible for the safety and security of the Antioch Library and not the city of Antioch, we would have been more than willing to work with the county regarding any safety concerns at the library, considering it serves so many Antioch residents.

In the past, when the County sought funding from the City of Antioch to increase the Library’s business hours and serve as a warming center, my colleagues and I were more than willing to support the County’s request.

On behalf of the 120,000+ residents of Antioch, I am asking that you work with the City of Antioch to find a resolution that works for our residents. Thank you in advance for your time.


Lamar A. Hernandez-Thorpe”

Library Working to Add Additional Security Guard in Parking Lot, Repair Security Fence

In addition, Contra Costa County Library Public Information Officer Brooke Converse responded, “The Contra Costa County Library has made the difficult decision to close the Antioch Library after repeated dangerous incidents over the last few months that have threatened the safety and security of patrons and staff.

Only the Antioch Library on East 18th is closed. The Prewett Library at the Antioch Community Center remains open.

The Library is working to add an additional security guard who will be stationed in the parking lot of the building. There is already a security guard inside the Antioch Library every day it is open. The Library will also be working with Contra Costa Public Works to expedite the repair and reinforcement of the Library’s security fence and the replacement of its security camera system.

We currently have a security guard at the Antioch Library every day the library is open, but we will need to amend the contract to add an additional security guard to patrol the parking lot and grounds of the library.

The Antioch Library is county-owned and operated, and the County Board of Supervisors was consulted before the closure. We have communicated with the city about the announcement and will continue to keep the city apprised of the progress to reopen.

The decision to close a library never comes lightly and though we understand the closure impacts the community, we would encourage Antioch residents to visit the Prewett Library at the Antioch Community Center.”

Additional questions asking Converse for details on the incidents and if any of the Antioch officials were contacted prior to closing the library.

She responded, “Some of the types of incidents that led up to this decision include:

  • Theft and damage to patron and staff property
  • Repeated vandalism of library property including multiple incidents involving things being set on fire
  • Threats to staff and security
  • Drug activity and drug use in the library and on library property
  • Sexual intercourse inside and outside the library in full view of patrons and staff
  • Bullet casings on library property

The city manager was notified about the closure yesterday afternoon.”

Supervisors Federal Glover, whose district includes the location of the library, and Diane Burgis, who represents the other portion of Antioch, were asked if either of them or anyone at the county contacted the Antioch mayor, city manager or police chief before making the decision.

UPDATE 2: According to Contra Costa County Library PIO Brooke Converse, “The Antioch Library will reopen for regular hours of operation on Tuesday, February 20, 2024.” (See related article)

UPDATE 3: On Monday morning, Feb. 19, Acting Antioch Police Chief Joe Vigil responded, “We have had no communications with the library, and I was not notified of any issues until late Friday night.”

Please check back later for any additional updates to this report.

Friends of Antioch Library raise, donate $60K for furniture, tech upgrades

Tuesday, January 30th, 2024
Friends of the Antioch Library present a ceremonial check during the council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. Standing, left to right, are Mayor Lamar Hernandez-Thorpe, Council Members Mike Barbanica, Tamisha Torres-Walker, Monica Wilson, FOAL Financial Secretary Patty Chan, Antioch Head Librarian Mahasin Aleem (accepting the check); FOAL President Walter Ruehlig, Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock, FOAL Treasurer Tammy Smith, former FOAL Secretary Marian Ferrante and FOAL Vice President Merle Whitburn. Photo: FOAL

By Walter Ruehlig

During the January 23, 2024, Antioch City Council meeting at City Hall the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Antioch Library (FOAL) presented a $60,000 donation for furniture and technology upgrades for the Antioch Library.

Since inception, FOAL has raised some $700K for library improvements through Amazon rare book offerings, used book sales, lobby magazine purchases, estate gifts and membership dues.

To learn more visit Antioch Friends | Contra Costa County Library (

Soul Box Project exhibit at Antioch Library in January

Thursday, December 28th, 2023
Soul Boxes on display at the Multnomah Arts Center in Portland, OR. Photo credit: The Soul Box Project

Nationwide, community art project, to raise awareness of gunfire, remember victims

Public invited to participate Jan. 14

By Lisa Dell’Anno

The Contra Costa Library system is showcasing the Soul Box Project, a nationwide, community art project, to raise awareness about the scale of gunfire in the U.S. The project displays thousands of Soul Boxes in public spaces to illustrate the number of victims of gun violence, defense, accidents and suicides.

Every day, Americans must confront the impact of gun violence in their communities. The statistics are mind-numbing: gunfire in 2022 alone killed over 44,000 people in the U.S.  In an average year, 3,253 people die and 7,293 are wounded by guns in California.  (state’s statistics:

Soul Boxes can bring solace to individuals and encourage sharing and healing within our community.  A box-making gathering is scheduled to honor Martin Luther King, and to make boxes to honor lives lost to gunfire in Antioch and elsewhere. Anybody can make a Soul Box and have it included in the display.

The Antioch Library showcase installation will include over 1,000 origami Soul Boxes, hand-folded and personalized. Each 3-inch-by-3-inch Soul Box holds space for a gunfire victim with a name, an image or a message of protest or hope. Admission is free and open to the public.

WHEN: Showcase exhibit can be seen during Library open hours during the month of January.

MLK box-making gathering will be Sunday, January 14, 2:00 – 4:00 in the Library Community Room.

Visitors can fold a Soul Box and add it to the exhibit. 

To make a Soul Box: download folding instructions and watch an instructional video.

WHERE: Antioch Library, 501 W. 18th Street, Antioch

Artist Leslie Lee, from Portland, Oregon, created the Soul Box Project after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017. It became a nationwide community art project designed to reveal the growing number of gunfire victims. The Project displays thousands of Soul Boxes in public spaces, illustrating the staggering number of victims of gunfire violence, defense, accidents and suicides. By raising awareness of the number of victims, the Project aims to empower people to choose actions regarding responsible gun use that reflect their values, priorities and beliefs. These actions may span a wide range – gun safety, education, legislation, mental health. Together those actions will help cause a shift in our nation’s culture. 

Artist and Soul Box Project founder, Leslie Lee, surveys Washington, D.C., installation of This Loss We Carry, October 2021. Photo Credit: Lancer Photography. All rights reserved.

The Project displayed 200,000 Soul Boxes on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 2021. The exhibit, titled This Loss We Carry, vividly illustrated the staggering number of U.S. victims of gunfire violence, defense, accidents, and suicides in less than 3 years.

Portions of the D.C. exhibit are now being distributed – by request and free of charge – to any individual, group or organization who can use this dramatic visual to bolster their work to end gun violence. View a video clip about the Soul Box Project.

For more information visit

Dell’Anno is a former leader in the Diablo Valley chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and now volunteers with The Soul Box Project.