Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at places like the library, or Lindsay Wildlife Museum, or the Lesher Center for the Arts? You don’t have to wonder any more. You can find out by signing up for the Second Saturday Spotlight program, 11 events on the (surprise) second Saturday of each month of 2013, in which residents get a chance to see a side of Walnut Creek not usually available for public inspection.
The program is the brainchild of Mayor Cindy Silva, who is adopting it as her 2013 outreach initiative. Each year, the mayor chooses a program that is aimed at enhancing the civic body. Last year, Bob Simmons chose a monthly walk in various locations around town.
The Second Saturday Spotlight program is free, but registration is requested to ensure the city has enough tour guides. To sign up, and to learn more about the Second Saturday Spotlight series, visit www.walnut-creek.org/spotlight.
Silva agreed to explain her idea in detail to Walnut Creek Patch.
Patch: Can you briefly explain the thinking behind Second Saturday?
Silva: The idea is to give community members an easy way to go behind the scenes and learn more about some of our most interesting city departments and functions as well as some of our great community assets like the Lindsay Wildlife Museum or our historical treasures.
Patch: The first stop is a tour of the library. What do you think people will be interested in "behind the curtain" in that facility?
Silva: A 21st century library is much more than a repository of books. Libraries are community living rooms, where people engage, learn, and connect with their communities and the world. And, today's libraries are about technology -- from the computers available to users to the technology that runs the check-out systems and the book-sorting equipment. It's really quite fascinating. Plus, our downtown library is currently showcasing the national touring exhibit, "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War", and Second Saturday Spotlight guests will get a guided tour of the exhibit (which isn't possible any other time, because the exhibit is designed to be self-directed).
Patch: What other tours do you have in mind this year?
Silva: We have eleven Second Saturdays planned that will include a backstage tour of the Lesher Center, a tour of the Lindsay wildlife hospital, a downtown historical walking tour, a tour of the Police Department, and a visit to our city corporation yard, which is where we deploy the crews and equipment that maintain our streets, parks, and everything in between. The February Spotlight will be a presentation on the State of the City.
Patch: Is there a particular demographic group these tours will appeal to?
Silva: I think Second Saturday Spotlights will appeal to all ages.
Patch: Where did this idea come from?
Silva: The genesis of Second Saturday Spotlight is that community members are consistently saying they would like to learn more about our community. For example, behind-the-scenes tours are a part of our Citizens Institute program each year, and participants always say that the tours of city facilities are very enlightening. Community Service Day volunteers have consistently said they not only like to give back to the community, but they like that Community Service Day gives them a chance to learn about some of our treasured assets like the Lindsay Museum or the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Second Saturday Spotlight is a way we can give more people an easy way on a Saturday morning to discover more about the great assets of Walnut Creek.