It may be unconventional, but it's action - not just talk.
That's what the Sacramento Public Library is saying about its colorful new effort to confront several issues at once.
Last week, a purple stripe showed up outside the Sacramento Public Library on I Street. As for the culprit, a crayon is in the clutches of the library's Book-a-saurus Rex down in the children's area.
"We think that he was probably inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon," Library Director, Rivkah Sass said. "It's the story, basically, of a little boy who has nothing to play with but a purple crayon, and he creates an entire world for himself with that one purple crayon."
Alongside the purple line appeared five verbs, last week.
"We have, 'talk, sing, read, write, play,'" Sass read off the sidewalk. "Those words are incredibly important for every parent of a young child, because it's what we need to do with every child in Sacramento so they start school ready to read."
But the line is about more than just childhood literacy. Sass intends the line to remind folks hanging around that the building is a library.
"We do have issues that we have to deal with as a downtown public agency sometimes, outside. There just aren't enough restrooms," she said.
The sidewalk collects everything from empty bottles and napkins to urine stains. Cleanliness is extra concerning in the wake of a hepatitis A outbreak in California, mainly in the southern portion of the state.
Sass said the library system, which consists of 28 branches throughout the county, spent some $53,000 last year pressure washing its buildings and sidewalks. Most of that money was at the central library location at I Street.
But the boundary is serving as a reminder.
"Since the words and the line went up, one of the things that we're noticing is, people are taking a little more care with the exterior of the building," Sass said. "That, of course, thrills us."
Most importantly, she said, her agency is taking action.
"As a community, when it comes to dealing with some of the issues that are bigger than us, let's try something. Let's reduce the amount of talking that we're doing and let's move to action," she said. "If we want to be a creative economy in Sacramento, every single person who lives here needs to read Harold and the Purple Crayon and experience their inner Harold, because we all need to get what's inside of us out."
Keeping downtown Sacramento clean is a group effort. Property owners, including the city of Sacramento, are all members of the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, which employs a team of people to clean sidewalks and alleys. The partnership also has a homeless outreach program.
Sass said about 42 percent of the library system's budget comes from the city and 58 percent comes from Sacramento County. She'd like to see more money allocated for a library position called a navigator, which helps the public - often people who are homeless - access library services. She said she'd also like to see the library opened later, in order to better serve people.
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