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A Celebration to Success

Burke Library observes second anniversary.

In 1957, Theodor Seuss Geisel wrote, "You will see something new. Two things. And I call them Thing One and Thing Two."

Those famous lines from Geisel, known to millions as Dr. Seuss, were part of his "The Cat in the Hat." They came to life last Saturday at the Ellen Coolidge Burke Branch Library as children of all ages, personally hand tooled their very own red and white stripped, slightly crooked, top hats.

It was all part of a second anniversary celebration marking the branch's rebirth combined with a tribute to the 100th birthday of the "Master of Rhyme." By the end of the day, it was expected to draw a crowd equal to last year's estimated 100 children and 200 adults for fun, learning and comradery.

In addition to the initial chapeau creations, there were silhouette creation lessons by local artist and author Ann Woodward, readings by visiting author Carol Goldsmith, a performance by The Irish Breakfast Band and face painting, accompanied by refreshments and balloons. It was surrounded by three days of book sales on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

"When the branch reopened last year we started with approximately 16,000 volumes. Now we have doubled that number," said Nelson Cuellar, manager of the branch at 4701 Seminary Road. "We circulate about 6,000 books per month."

He also noted, "Nearly 10,000 people enter this library every month. In addition to regular library offerings we have adult English As a Second Language books as well as adult courses in computers." Last Saturday the computer training room was full with interested students.

Francis Barnett, children's librarian at the branch, was handling requests as parent's and children entered. "It's been very successful since we reopened," she said. "We get 10 to 15 children for our story hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays."

Complimenting these story hours, Cuellar personally does one in Spanish every other Saturday.

AT THE OPPOSITE end of the library from the moms, dads and children fashioning their Seuss hats was Ann Woodward, a local silhouette artist and author of her own instruction text, "How to Cut For Fun and Money." It is co-authored with her daughter Deidre.

"I've been doing this for about 27 years. I've hand cut silhouettes all over the metropolitan area," she said. "Now I'm retired but I want to teach others how to do it."

Woodward noted, "It's very lucrative and there is hardly any competition. For young mothers it's a great way to make money. The primary audiences are in schools so it fits in with their lifestyles."

Since silhouetting is almost a lost art, there is hardly any where to learn the delicate craft, according to Woodward. "Even when I started there was no one around to teach me, so I'm self trained. But it's amazing how many silhouettes have very similar features," she said as she cut one from a blank sheet of paper with precision scissors.