Libraries We Love – Dancing Among The Stars

Each month, we profile a library: Large, small, urban, rural, post-modern, quaint or neo-classic, but this month we are presenting a new and different way of looking at libraries. Patricia Vaccarino writes about a fundraising collaboration between the Berkeley Ballet Theater and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation

When working collaboratively with Robert Dekkers, anything can happen. Dekkers, who is famously the artistic director of both the  Berkeley Ballet Theater and the avant garde dance company Post:Ballet, is now booking-it a bit. Under Dekkers direction, The BBT Studio Company is in process for a collaboration with the Berkeley Public Library Foundation. Tune in on March 6th to celebrate the latest newly renovated Library in the Berkeley Public Library System.  Libraries are Central: Be A Fan! A virtual celebration on Saturday March 6th, 5 to 6pm

For the dancer and choreographer Robert Dekkers, books have played in integral role during every phase of his life.

"As a child, reading ignited my imagination, inspiring me to dream, play, and create.

As a teenager, reading sparked my curiosity, encouraging me to explore, discover, and learn.

As an adult, reading enlightens my perspective, inviting me to grow and evolve as an individual and a member of our collective society.”

Dance performances by the BBT Studio Company will be presented in a new film. Other creative talent will be brought to your screen by an engaging lineup of music, dance, theater, storytelling, and poetry. The funds raised by donation and an online auction will be used to do all of the amazing things needed by the six branches of the library. The most recent accomplishment is the renovation and creation of new teen space at the Central Library.

About the collaboration, Dekkers commented, “I'm so grateful for this opportunity to bring my love for dance and reading together in the Berkeley Public Library's new Teen Room. Berkeley Ballet Theater Studio Company dancers Sydney, David, and Ian collaborated with me on this film, along with cinematographer/editor Clare Schweitzer and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation."

Many public libraries across America get their budgets from the municipalities and counties where they reside. Additional funding comes from grants and fundraising. The monies donated to libraries gives them the ability to do amazing things, ranging from building renovation to the offering of groundbreaking new programs. For the ultimate in innovation, take a look at the Berkeley Public Library.

Libraries typically have children’s story telling, book clubs and learning programs that are customized to fit the needs of the communities they serve. The BPL system has raised the barre by looking ever upward toward the stars. Each week, the library offers a sky report that includes current positions of the  heavenly bodies and constellations. One recent news tidbit reported that the astronauts on the International Space Station were planning to take a six-hour 250 mile-high Sunday stroll through space.

Here is a most interesting space scoop—the library has five Orion StarBlast Astro Reflector Telescopes that you can borrow. Each BPL branch has a telescope which can be borrowed for up to a week. Don’t forget to jump for joy at the prospect of being able to borrow a telescope! And if you want to, feel free to break into a little dance.

Did I mention that there are only five telescopes when it’s already been established that there are six branches? No error on my part. The sixth BPL Branch is a Tool Lending Library. Berkeley residents or property owners over age 18 can borrow tools, ranging from ladders and wheelbarrows to plumbing, mechanical and power tools. Please see the entire list of tools!

Check out all of the amazing programs that the Berkeley Public Library offers! And if you have time this Saturday, tune in to see  performances by guest artists who passionately care about books. Proceeds derived from the fundraiser will pay for library innovations and literacy projects to expand access and connectivity throughout the Berkeley community.

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Central Library, 2090 Kittredge Street (at Shattuck), Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-981-6100 website: Hours 10am to 6pm most days, except Monday it’s open from 12pm to 6pm and closed all day Sunday.

Face coverings are required for service as is 6 feet of social distancing between patrons.

Editor’s note: We wrote in detail about Robert Dekkers in the July 2020 Connector Magazine. Here is the link in case you missed it.



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Patricia Vaccarino

Patricia Vaccarino is an accomplished writer who has written award-winning film scripts, press materials, articles, essays, speeches, web content, marketing collateral, and eight books.

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