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Adults Crack Open Summer Books, Too

Adults and kids participate in 'Dream Big Read,' the first summer reading festival for new Walnut Creek library manager Caroline Gick.

Imaginations soar with the thermometer (OK, the temperature will be soaring soon enough …) as the summer reading festival gets festive at Walnut Creek libraries.

This summer the volunteers are emphasizing signing up adults as well as children and teenagers in the reading festival, said Caroline Gick, the new senior community library manager for Walnut Creek's two libraries, the downtown branch on North Broadway and the Ygnacio Valley branch on Oak Grove Road. Library patrons — including adults — are greeted by volunteers at the summer reading table and offered information, said Gick, who started in Walnut Creek in April.

Festival participants write book reviews. When they turn them in, the reviews are entered in drawings for prizes from library sponsors: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, California Academy of Sciences, the San Francisco Giants, Oracle and Renaissance Club Sport in Walnut Creek.

The theme is "Dream Big Read!" The festival continues through Aug. 18, when the back-to-school sales will be in full bloom.

As the summer reading adventures continue, the library website will post charts of how many books participants have read.

Some adult readers are also deep in the Civil War right now with the "One Book, One City" project for Walnut Creek: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.

And keep up to date with the library calendar for summertime fun, including three — count 'em, 3 — events on Monday: Teens' Minute Mystery Challenge, "What in the World" puppet show and Summer Dreamin' Family Fun PJ Dance Party.

Caroline Gick

Caroline Gick, a Concord resident, has been with the county library system since 2003, while she was still doing course work for a master's in library science from San Jose State. In nine years she has worked at system libraries in El Sobrante, Hercules and Orinda before coming to Walnut Creek in April, succeeding Cindy Brittain as Walnut Creek library manager.

She said her spirits are lifted by the constant activity at the two Creek libraries, always something going on. "The wealth of activity and the diversity of activity and the people we're serving kind of astounds me," said Gick. "There are always people here. It always makes me curious." She gives some credit to the great walk-in location downtown on North Broadway.

Gick, who grew up in Connecticut, said she's always been a bookworm. She graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., with a bachelor's degree in art history. She first worked for nonprofits and in public relations before gravitating to libraries and the degree in library science.

Her summer reading project is to return to a favorite novel from 2000, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon. "I didn't expect to like it with its male characters and comic books," Gick said, "but I loved it."

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