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Library Throws A Birthday Party
Riverbank Library marked the 100th anniversary of the county library system on Saturday with a birthday cake and old-fashioned games like pin the book on the librarian - another version of pin the tail on the donkey - and a very popular cake walk outside the doors.

There were actually two cakes, one with white icing and a smaller one with chocolate cream. There was also lemonade available, craft tables to decorate goodie bags with stickers and a chance to throw bean bags through holes in a board.

O'Brien's Market and Friends of the Library donated the cakes.

Library Branch Supervisor Vicky Holt Angulo attended the Riverbank City Council meeting on the Monday before to receive a written proclamation commending the Stanislaus County Library system on its anniversary and declaring April 8 to 14 as National Library Week.

Libraries in this county began in the late 1800s as small reading rooms and shared book collections, said the proclamation. McHenry Library, the county's main branch in a system that now includes 13 spread over the county, opened its doors on May 1 of 1912.

The Riverbank library branch was established June 3 of 1913 in the Mission Shop with H. K. Hadley as branch librarian, according to Holt Angulo's research. In 1917 a small grocery store was set up at one end of the building and the library shared space with it until 1921.

In that year, the city built a 900-square foot building at 3237 Santa Fe just west of Third Street using a $3,000 Carnegie grant like those that financed libraries throughout the United States. Riverbank's grant was made before World War I but not used until 1921.

An old oak tree that had graced the front lawn was saved in keeping with local residents' requests.

The current library at 3442 Santa Fe (cross of Fifth Street) was raised in 1978. It was dedicated to Florence Wilson Bessac, who with her husband, had edited and published The Riverbank News for more than 50 years. The cost of the building was $268,000 drawn from funds provided by the county through a federal revenue-sharing program.

Stanislaus County libraries now offer not only printed books but books on tape, CDs, DVDs, Playaways, magazines and newspapers plus access to computers and the Internet and free Wi-Fi for customers with laptops and other Web-based devices.