Here’s how the UC Berkeley Library celebrated Cal Day 2018

Ah, Cal Day.

Each year, UC Berkeley opens up its doors to people from the campus community and beyond to bask in the university’s splendor through a variety of events and activities, which this year ranged from musical to magical, from edible to eye-opening.

Cal Day is also a perfect opportunity to explore UC Berkeley’s libraries, through a variety of pop-up exhibits, tours, and more. 

Here are some of the ways the libraries celebrated Cal Day this year.

Guests read a book about dinosaurs in the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library on Cal Day, April 21, 2018.
Visitors read a book about dinosaurs in the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library on Cal Day at UC Berkeley. (Photos by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

Bears, Bugs, Dinosaurs & More!
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
2101 Valley Life Sciences Building, Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library

What really killed the dinosaurs? As a crowd of kids buzzed through the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library — where life-size casts of baby and adult triceratops skeletons are on display — some interesting new theories emerged.

“I wanted to find bones, so I could see stuff that (was) extinct from the volcano,” Alex Crow, 6, said. “Only the bones were around because they were the only things that the hot lava couldn’t heat up.”

Children came in swarms throughout the day to gaze at the library’s dinosaur replicas or hang out on the floor with the collection of dino-themed books for kids.

The Bioscience and Natural Resources Library also displayed some items from the campus’s Optometry Library, including a long wooden eye-measuring device and picture books on optical illusions and colorblindness.

A young guest colors in Morrison Library on Cal Day, April 21, 2018. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)
A young guest colors in Morrison Library at UC Berkeley on Cal Day.

Visit Morrison Library
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Doe Library, Morrison Reading Room

Those seeking a respite from the crush of Cal Day found refuge in Morrison Library, where they lounged, read, colored (even some adults joined the fun), browsed the collection, and soaked in the architectural glory of the space that is often referred to as “the university’s living room.” 

Visitors browse the $1 book sale at Doe Library on Cal Day, April 21, 2018.
Visitors browse the $1 book sale at Doe Library.

Doe Library $1 Book Sale
9 a.m.-3 p.m.
303 Doe Library

Guests at Doe Library danced around one another this afternoon, reaching near and far for new books at the annual sale. Some visitors had boxes, while others came equipped with carts to mine the collection — which included books, vinyl records, and CDs — for a particular treasure.

“What’s cool about the book sale is that it’s in Doe Library, which is such a beautiful space filled with amazing books — and the fact that you can come up here to find a small selection of its books for a price you can actually afford is really cool,” said Jordan Gilles, a recent alum.

Lion dancers perform inside the Ethnic Studies Library.
Lion dancers perform inside the Ethnic Studies Library.

Lion dance
1 p.m.
30 Stephens Hall, Ethnic Studies Library

On the sunny steps of the Stephens Hall Courtyard, a symphony of drums, cymbals, and gongs erupted as students from the Vietnamese Student Association performed a traditional lion dance.

Covered in the large, spectacular lion bodies — one for the front, one for the rear — dancers jumped up and down to the pulsating rhythm. Moments later, students danced into the Ethnic Studies Library, snaking around the shelves as a crowd of visitors gathered near the entrance.

Lion dances are traditionally performed for special occasions such as the Lunar New Year or weddings, said Samir Alam, a junior at UC Berkeley and one of the performance coordinators. But this time, it was for Cal Day, at the library’s invitation.

“(The dance is) a way for us to maintain our cultural heritage and also still be involved in the surrounding community,” Alam said.

Nathan Lee looks at the artwork posted in the “Science as Art” exhibit in the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library on Cal Day, April 21, 2018.
Nathan Lee looks at the artwork in the Science as Art exhibit in the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library.

Science as Art Exhibition
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
100 Hildebrand Hall, Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library

When does science become art?

The Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library is showing off artwork depicting the tiny and beautiful inner workings of the universe. Pieces include images of forest-green, iridescent fluorophore, and evaporated diethyl ether leaves coated in swirls of crystalline clouds.

Nathan Lee, who will be a freshman studying chemical engineering next year, stopped by the exhibit to check out the library where he’ll likely spend a lot of time in the near future.

His favorite piece? A single water bubble in a sea of dark gray-blue, showing tiny surface ripples from the droplet at the nanoparticle level. (The work is by undergrad Andres Mariano.)

“It’s really relaxing — it’s just a big bubble,” Lee said.

“Usually art and STEM are different fields of study,” he said. “But to combine them is really interesting — and fun.”

Visitors to the "Science Gets Graphic" exhibit look at cartoons, books and graphic novels in the Mathematics Statistics Library on Cal Day, April 21, 2018. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)
Visitors to the Science Gets Graphic exhibit look at cartoons, books, and graphic novels in the Mathematics Statistics Library.

Science Gets Graphic: Cartoons, Comics & Graphic Novels in the Sciences
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
100 Evans Hall, Mathematics Statistics Library

Batman. Superman. Albert Einstein.

Although he has appeared in comics before, the iconic theoretical physicist might be an unlikely graphic novel star.

His illustrated biography was just one of the gems on display at the Mathematics Statistics Library on Cal Day. Other notable items included a graphic history of the first atomic bomb, the colorful and playful Cartoon Introduction to Chemistry, and an illustrated exploration of Alan Turing, who is sometimes referred to as the father of modern computer science and who shot to the forefront of the public consciousness after Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed him in 2014’s The Imitation Game.

What was the inspiration for the exhibit?

“Over the last few years, (I) noticed more graphic novels and cartoon introductions into scientific subjects,” said Brian Quigley, who put together the display. “It’s a real trend, and they’re the kinds of works that really pull people in and get people excited about science and mathematics.”

“Math and science (are) a huge part of this campus,” said Quigley, who serves as head of the Library’s Engineering & Physical Sciences Division. “And it’s good to get young people excited about science and math so they continue to pursue it when they get to college.”

A kid is immersed in virtual reality on Cal Day.
Samuel Lancaster, 9, of Oakland, tries out the Virtual Campanile virtual reality game in the Engineering Library. The game allows players to play the Campanile bells and look out at the view from the iconic tower.

Virtual Reality at Kresge Engineering Library
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
110 Bechtel Engineering Center, Kresge Engineering Library

The Campanile’s bells chimed through Kresge Engineering Library as kids lined up to play a new virtual reality simulation of the tower’s carillon, created by students in the group VR@Berkeley.

In another corner of the library, kids partnered up to explore a World War II tank in another game made by students.

“Kids have the best reactions to everything — that’s what makes it worth it,” said Revekka Kostoeva, a junior who is a member of VR@Berkeley.

“How do I grab things?” a young girl screamed into the void, spinning around in her headset. Ross Luo, who helped build the game, rushed over to help.

Luo said the team is excited to share their passion for VR with the community. “The idea is outreach,” he said. “Hopefully this gets people wondering about how they could code their own game someday.”

Visitors on Cal Day look at books in the Environmental Design Library.
Artist Lauri Twitchell, right, shows some young visitors an artist’s book about bugs at the Environmental Design Library.

Artist & Pop-Up Books at ENVI Library
9 a.m-12 p.m.
210 Wurster Hall, Environmental Design Library

What do you get when you combine books with art?

Visitors to the Environmental Design Library found out the answer to that question firsthand on Cal Day. Among the books on display were volumes made from unusual materials, such as one made entirely from garbage, as well as dozens of pop-up books.

“I thought it was so cool that paper can bend like that and in perfect unison with everything else,” said Ilias Benomar, 12, of the pop-up books.