This past Sunday afternoon the roof of the Peninsula Center Library was transformed into a skatepark and skateboarding expo to the delight of nearly 700 kids (from toddlers through teenagers), parents and interested community members. This video shows some of the skaters -
And here is a link to some photos (the album is in Picasa - you should be able to open it by clicking on this link, but I've never used Picasa in my blog before!)
The event was a fundraiser for a grassroots effort to build a permanent skate park on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
I'm sure some people are asking what skateboarding has to do with the library! The simple answer is that the library has been involved because we see the need for such a facility every day as kids with nowhere else to skate (skateboarding is illegal everywhere on the Peninsula!) find the front steps of the Peninsula Center Library an ideal place to test their skills at grinding on the edge of our planters, or using the steps as the means to launch themselves into the air...without any safety gear and at significant risk to themselves, to other library customers, and at times to the cars coming down Silver Spur Road at considerable speed. In other words, the library (along with a number of other locations) has become a de facto skatepark...and we spend a not insignificant amount of staff time chasing the skateboards off and repairing the damage done to walkways and walls. It would be great to be able to direct the kids to a "real" skatepark!
Apart from pragmatic self-interest, however, the event was a great way for the library to be an active and visible partner in helping address a real community need. The event organizers and participants were very grateful to the library for making our space available, we have been able to strengthen our relationship with other community organizations like the YMCA and the Sheriff's department, and among the nearly 700 attendees I know there were many who saw the library in a newly positive light.
It was one of those sometimes rare events where everyone "won"-from the SkateparkPV organizers who raised 2x their fundraising goal to the kids who had a blast using the rails and ramps to the vendors who got exposure for their businesses to the garage bands who were exposed to a new audience to the library itself which for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon was the sickest place to be!
Now, I wonder how our Board and our Facilities Manager would react to a request to do it again sometime?