Explore SJ Libraries: Hillview Branch
Welcome back to another Explore SJ Libraries! As many of you know we have a total of 23 branch libraries, soon to be 24, in San Jose. Unfortunately, we don’t all get the pleasure of visiting each of them. While all these libraries offer similar resources such as books, programs and services, each one of them caters to unique communities and the libraries have become a reflection of those communities. For this blog, we will be exploring the Hillview Branch Library located in East San Jose.
Location, Location, Location
Hillview Library is located on Hopkins Drive and has served the East San Jose community since 1965. It was remodeled and re-opened in 2007. This location serves several local middle and elementary schools such as Fischer Middle School, Donald J. Meyer Elementary school and Anthony Dorsa Elementary school. On a nice clear day the library has a clear view of the Alum Rock and Evergreen hills, which explains the reasoning behind the libraries name. Like several of the other branches this library contains a teen room, children’s area and technology center as well as a large community room. With a rich agricultural, natural and industrial past, this area and branch is sure to wow any library goer.
Artwork- A Reflection of the Community
The artwork featured at the Hillview branch library is called “Groundwork” and was created by artist Amy Trachtenberg. There are several elements that make up the artwork at this library, the main ones being the rotunda, frieze and columns. The artwork is meant to symbolize the agricultural and industrial past of the community. Each of the 8 columns is composed of a stack of tractor tires. There are also curved staves milled from recycled old-growth redwood and a stainless steel can that is meant to pay homage to the canneries that once stood in the area. The final tier of the columns is made of madrone branches which is an indigenous tree revered by the Ohlone Indians. On the top of the columns are 26 paintings called the Shadow Frieze and represent the aerial view of tilled earth, crops and orchards. As you walk into the building , you will notice this great work of art and if you look up at the Rotunda you will see small windows that give Hillview library plenty of natural light to highlight all the wonderful books below. More information on the artwork.
Staff - Always Happy To Help
The staff at Hillview is both welcoming and eager to help you with all your informational needs. Need help finding a book? Making a copy or finding your favorite movie? The Hillview staff is ready to help. On most days, Hillview branch staff is busy providing the community with programs such as chess for kids, coding classes and making sure both children and teens have the resources they need for their informational needs. Mondays include after school crafts and make sure you stop by on Friday’s in March for Game Zone Friday’s.
Programs for the Community
Hillview offers a wide variety of programs from the regular storytimes to Saturday guitar practice. A brand new bilingual storytime is set to start Tuesday’s at 11:00 am beginning in March. There are very active coding classes and technology classes offered at the branch along with some culturally diverse programs such as a Khmer language class which is designed to help keep the Cambodian culture and language alive. Librarians Oscar Hernandez and Kristina Tubera are working long and hard to make sure Hillview meets the needs of the community through a vast array of children’s and family oriented programming. Helping the Hillview community is one of Librarian Kristina Tubera’s goals, "I really enjoy helping people. Being able to connect them with the resources that they need, it’s very gratifying and I love when the customers give us feedback that they found the book that they need, or a program that helped them in some way." - Kristina Tubera
When it comes to finding information for patrons, the Hillview Librarians are more than happy to help. Librarian Oscar Hernandez enjoys being able to put his bilingual skills to the test and they come in handy when customers need help finding information, “When somebody comes in, and they are looking for that specific book or specific information…to see them light up when they find it, that personal gratification makes it all worth it.”- Oscar Hernandez
Family Learning Center- Empowering Families
The Hillview Library is one of seven libraries in San Jose that has a Family Learning Center. The Family Learning Center is dedicated to bringing much needed resources such as ESL material, parenting classes and citizenship help. FLC coordinator Ofelia Chavarin is dedicated to bringing new classes and programs to the Hillview branch. A program starting soon at Hillview is called “Tiempo Para Mi” and it is a woman’s group presented in Spanish that empowers women to utilize the library to its fullest potential by learning about the various programs available for them and their families. Programs such as this are helping families in the community better their lives which is one of the main missions of the FLC centers and it is a mission that coordinator Ofelia Chavarin is trying to bring to life in the Hillview library, “I love that people here are humble, they want to learn. Sometimes they come in here and seem kind of lost but once you show them all the great resources we have and we talk about all the different programs available to them, they get really excited. We transform lives, even if it’s just little things or even just one program that benefits a family…that’s one of my biggest goals as a Family Learning Coordinator is to promote programs, show families the value of the library system, the resources available to them and everything we have to offer.”- Ofelia Chavarin
Which Library Should We Explore Next?
What’s your favorite thing about your local library? Maybe it’s been awhile since you visited, so make sure you keep an eye out for future blogs featuring other great libraries in the San Jose Public Library system. Your local library may be next!
Special thanks to the Hillview Branch and their wonderful staff.