In the latest Around Town column, learn how Palo Alto's city libraries will return to some normalcy starting Tuesday, April 13, find out what untraditional trinkets were hidden at Bol Park on Easter for children and get details on Rep. Anna Eshoo's annual art competition.
TURNING A NEW CHAPTER ... Palo Alto's city libraries will return to some normalcy starting Tuesday, April 13, when the Children's Library reopens to the public for people with appointments, which are now available to book. Adjacent to Rinconada Park, the branch's opening hours will be 1-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Also as of Tuesday, the local library system will place all returned books and other items under 24-hour quarantine as a public health precaution. People can expect to wait up to four days for returned items to be deleted from their account. While borrowers currently don't face late fees, the library system has asked them to return any overdue items for the benefit of other customers. The city plans to reopen the Mitchell Park and Rinconada branches on a limited basis in May, though no dates have been set yet.
Anyone who plans to visit a branch must follow Palo Alto's face covering requirement for those ages 3 and older and maintain 6 feet of distance from other visitors.
As more branches resume operations, the library's Sidewalk Service will also undergo changes. The service continues to be available at the Mitchell Park location on Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. Starting April 13, the service will run at the Rinconada Library on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.
I SPY WITH MY EYE ... Instead of hunting for colorful plastic eggs on Easter at Bol Park, locals searched for a different prize that's representative of the open space: small vinyl donkeys.
Barron Park Donkey Project coordinator Jenny Kiralti and her husband woke up early on April 4 to hide 60 figurines on tree branches, fences and greenery throughout the park, which is home to community donkeys Perry and Buddy. They also posted signs about the hunt and promoted it online on Nextdoor and through the Barron Park Association.
When the couple returned later that afternoon, they saw families continuing to search for the figurines at about 4 p.m. Kiralti and her husband collected the remaining donkeys that were scattered across the park. "Some were easy to find, some were hard to find and some we couldn't find at all," she said.
The couple started the tradition last year soon after stay-at-home orders were first issued to help bring joy to children, Kiralti said.
CULTIVATING CREATIVITY ... The COVID-19 pandemic hasn't stopped all annual traditions from taking place, such as Rep. Anna Eshoo's Congressional Art Competition.
The contest is open to high school students in the state's 18th Congressional District, which includes Palo Alto and neighboring cities. While the competition will be held virtually, the reward remains the same: The winning work will be put on display in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., for all to see. "For over 30 years, the Congressional Art Competition has recognized and encouraged artistic talent among our youth across our country," Eshoo said in a press release. "I'm proud to keep this tradition flourishing, even amid such challenging times, by launching this year's competition virtually so students can participate in a safe manner. It's important to support self-expression through art, and I encourage all young artists in California's 18th Congressional District to use this opportunity to express their experiences over the last year and reflect on the resiliency of our community."
Entries can come in many forms, including paintings, collages and photography. Contestants are required to submit their work as a high-quality photo paired with a student information and release form by email to [email protected] by 5 p.m. PST on Friday, April 23.
The Palo Alto congresswoman plans to hold a reception in her district later this year to announce the winner and recognize all of the participants. For more information, call 650-323-2984 or visit eshoo.house.gov.