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Potomac Community Library Celebrates 35th Anniversary Throughout September

Library events run throughout the month to commemorate the library's history.

Through jazz, cupcakes, book sale, a book club selection and even a group of pirates providing entertainment, the staff and patrons of Potomac Community Library are celebrating its 35th anniversary throughout September. Librarians began the event planning about six months ago.

"We planned it for the lovely month of September, as the official opening of the library was on a January day and it seemed way too risky to plan big events for the fickle weather of January," said Jean Ross, who has served as Branch Administrator since 2008 and is leading the event planning process.

Ross says her predecessor, Trudi Sommerfield, "had been at Potomac for many, many years, and had done an excellent job of updating the library."

The library opened for business Jan. 25, 1975, about one decade after direct library service to the residents of eastern Prince William County began in September 1965 with the opening of the Leesylvania Branch Library.

Then in November 1972, a $625,000 bond referendum passed and the 18,000-square-foot Potomac Community Library was built on a site of the Potomac Hospital grounds, according to the library's website. It is one of many community libraries within the Prince Williams County regional library system.

"I do think our patrons are very excited by the idea that the library is having such a great line-up of programming for them," said Ross.

The celebrating begins this Friday with the Friends of the Potomac Community Library's weekend-long book sale inside the library, located at 2201 Opitz Blvd, Woodbridge. The "Friends" are also celebrating their 35th birthday, said Ross.

Held four times a year, the sale includes books, DVDs, magazines, CDs, and other media for all ages and tastes. Most of the items sold are donated by residents of the community and library staff, said Ross.

"We are very grateful to the Friends of Potomac Library, whose book sale proceeds pay for refreshments, performers, and craft materials," said Ross.

The Third Thursday Thrillers Potluck & Book Discussion will take place Thursday, Sept. 16. It too is part of the anniversary fun.

"We thought it would be fun to weave the big birthday and anniversary month into our regular programming," said Ross.

This month's book is Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent, a mystery about Daphne Martin, owner of Daphne's Delectable Cakes in Brea Ridge, VA, and the tale that unfolds when the local gossip turns of dead. The potluck dinner will include recipes found in mystery books. For assistance finding recipes, ask the library staff.

Then on Saturday, Sept. 18, a group of pirates known as "Have Blade, Will Travel" will be on hand for a fencing demonstration during International "Talk Like a Pirate Day" festivities at the library.

"They have done programs for us in the past, once for our 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' kids event and another time for teens to introduce them to the art of fencing and stage fighting," said Ross.  "The programs they do are always a huge hit."

After the pirates depart Saturday, musical duo "marcolivia" will perform classical, jazz, rag, and tango pieces on Sunday, September 19. They are a violin/viola duo that has performed at John F. Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and many other cultural centers worldwide. The audience will have a chance to meet the artists after the show.

An event featuring cupcakes and bookmarks is geared toward middle and high school students on Tuesday, Sept. 21. During Potomac Library's 35th Anniversary Celebration, participants will create a "decoupage bookmark" out of cardstock, tissue paper, and decoupage medium. After that, it is time to "Decorate-a-Cupcake" with a group of friends. The cupcake and craft program for teens is one of the library's regular programs.

The celebration weekends conclude with building blocks on Saturday, Sept. 25 and jazz performance on Sunday, Sept. 26. During Saturday's event, Sir-Brix-a-Lot will host three afternoon sessions. Here, the children participants will creatively construct buildings and other objects.

"Sir Brix-a-Lot is great fun.  They bring thousands of Lego and Duplo pieces to the library and we have kids enter at timed intervals to build fantastic creations with the assistance of the "professional" Sir Brix-a-Lot builders," said Ross.

The jazz concert is one of a four-part series the library sponsors annually.  Project Natale, presenting jazz sounds from the big band era and bebop, as well as Afro Cuban jazz, will present a free concert.  Brothers Joe and Lou Natale formed the group in 1998 and have added musicians to the group over the decades, including legendary tenor sax player Carl Cornwell and renowned pianist Bob Butta. Light refreshments will be served after the concert.

Based on attendance at events throughout the year, Ross expects a good turnout at all of these anniversary festivities.

 "Traditionally all our music programs and our children's events are very well attended.  We often have 100 or more at the concerts and to see our children's performers," said Ross.

In addition to planning the festivities, the library staff has set many goals for the coming year. According to Ross, "our goals are to market our services and our collections to the maximum number of residents, so people have the opportunity to read, be entertained, do research, use computers, take classes, learn new skills, and pursue all their personal goals.  As a part of that marketing, we will continue to offer programming and displays, as well as go to schools and speak to groups about the library's services."

For more information about these events and other library activities and services, log onto http://www.pwcgov.org/library.

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