Library to celebrate Cal Day with parade of special events, exhibits

On Cal Day, April 21 this year, libraries across campus will throw open their doors to the public, giving rare samples of their best quirks and wonders throughout Berkeley’s daylong celebration.

Several libraries have prepared pop-up exhibits for the day, with librarians hand-picking treasures to display. Others libraries have planned guided tours, special performances, and interactive technological presentations. From dinosaur bones to mathematical manga, from hair embroidery to Beethoven’s original scribbles, all visitors are sure to find a dose of magic somewhere in our libraries’ walls.

All activities will be open to the public — including those in Main Stacks and Moffitt, which typically require a Cal ID to enter. Many of the libraries usually closed on weekends will be open Saturday, so don’t miss the opportunity to come explore!

Here is a description of the various events and showings curated for the day. As you begin your journey, pick up a Library Passport at any passport location, noted in the descriptions. Get stamped at five locations, and get a surprise (redeemed at any Library Passport location).

Go Bears!

Doe book sale
Shoppers browse the books for sale in Doe Library in 2017. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

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

Treat yourself with a box full of new books at Doe Library’s annual book sale. You’ll find thousands of hardcover and softcover books here, including novels; textbooks; and books on art, history, science, and more — each for only $1. All of the books are in good condition and are waiting for a good home. Bring your favorite bookworm friends!

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

The Environmental Design Library will display its large collection of artists’ books — artwork made from unusual materials and fashioned into the elegance of a book. Check out these artists’ books made from debris in Berkeley’s Blake Garden. Artists’ books are often one-of-a-kind objects, and they’re all too often locked behind glass cases. On Saturday, guests will be able to flip through and handle artists’ books, as well as the Library’s interesting architectural pop-up books. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

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

“If you are in free fall and your parachute fails, but you have a Slinky with extremely convenient mass, tension, etc., would it be possible to save yourself by throwing the Slinky upward while holding on to one end of it?” Just in time for Cal Day, the Mathematics Statistics Library will be showing off a collection of whimsical comics and illustrated books, including What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. On display will be the graphic novel Logicomix, co-authored by Berkeley’s Christos Papadimitriou, professor emeritus of computer science, which tells the epic adventures of philosophers and logicians across time who’ve traded their sanity in the pursuit of knowledge. Come explore other colorful quandaries in books such as The Manga Guide to Calculus and The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Sign outside Bancroft
The Bancroft Library will host an exhibit about redwood conservation in the gallery beginning April 20, and open to visitors on Cal Day. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

Sustaining Grandeur: The First 100 Years of Save the Redwoods League
10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Bancroft Library Gallery, located in Doe Annex

Want to explore the redwoods? A new exhibit at The Bancroft Library, called Sustaining Grandeur, provides a glimpse into Bancroft’s vast record of the environmental movement. The show commemorates a century of preservation by the Save the Redwoods League, featuring items from the League’s own archive, held by Bancroft, as well as other treasures. Some of the gems on display include a hand-drawn map by celebrated naturalist John Muir; a letter to the League from President Barack Obama; and redwood specimens from the University and Jepson Herbaria. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Hargrove Music Library Tour
1 p.m.-3 p.m.
Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library

Library staff at the Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library will take visitors on a tour of the library, followed by a special presentation of rare items in its troves. The tour and presentation combo will take place twice, at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Some of the Music Library’s gems include an original manuscript of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 6, scribbled in his own hand; Jacopo Peri’s La Dafne d’Ottavio Rinuccini, recognized as the world’s first opera; and first editions of George Frideric Handel’s coronation odes, which have been performed at every English coronation ceremony since that of King George III. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Doe Library
Memorial Glade outside Doe Library teems with visitors on Cal Day last year. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

Tour Doe and Moffitt Libraries and Gardner Stacks
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Doe Library, north entrance, or Moffitt Library, south entrance

No Cal ID? No problem. Come take a self-guided tour of the 52 miles of shelves in Doe and Moffitt. Start at the Doe Library (north entrance) information desk or the Moffitt Library south entrance. Then make your way to the recently renovated fourth and fifth floors of Moffitt to see demonstrations of 3-D printing — and even print your own button — from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Celebrating Social Justice at the Ethnic Studies Library

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
30 Stephens Hall, Ethnic Studies Library

Visit the Ethnic Studies Library at 10:30 a.m. for a performance by the Danza Azteca group in the Stephens Hall courtyard, or stop by around 1 p.m. for a lion dance by a student group. (The performance will happen in either in the courtyard or inside the library.) There will be three free drawings for books related to social justice and ethnic communities at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m., and free bookmarks and buttons available all day. On display inside the library is an exhibit featuring rare photographs and court case information documenting the plight of Chinese American women to gain legal standing in the U.S. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

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

Immerse yourself in the world of virtual reality with the student group VR@Berkeley in the Kresge Engineering Library. Students will be using Oculus Rift to demonstrate a multiplayer game that the club has created. Come experience what it’s like to drive the WWII Sherman Firefly tank from inside the cockpit — alone or with a partner. Or try out Virtual Campanile with the Windows Mixed Reality headset, which allows you to get a behind-the-scenes look at the famous landmark, play its carillon, and hear the bells chime! While in line, flip through a book on VR technology, or feel free to ask the students any questions. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Child coloring
A toddler colors in Morrison Library on Cal Day in 2017. Children are welcome inside Morrison for relaxing, reading and coloring on Cal Day. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

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

Need a break from all the excitement? Relax in the Morrison Library, full of cozy armchairs and sofas. An architectural treasure, Morrison Library opened in Doe Library in 1928 as a traditional reading room for students to take a rest from academic life. Bring the kids for some fun, all-ages coloring of the collections. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Tour of the C. V. Starr East Asian Library and Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies
2-3 p.m.
C. V. Starr East Asian Library

Take a guided tour of the East Asian Library, which boasts over 1.1 million volumes in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. The tour, led by the Library’s curator of the rare materials collection, will start at 2 p.m. and includes a history of the collection and an overview of the building’s unique architecture. In the Library, be sure to check out an exhibit by Berkeley alum Masako Takahashi called Antidotal, which features hand-dyed and hand-spun woolen pompoms intended as playful antidotes to stress, as well as embroidery work stitched with the artist’s own hair. Read more about the exhibit here. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

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

For Cal Day this year, the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library paired up with the campus’s College of Chemistry for a Science as Art competition, as a way to bridge the communication gap between researchers and the public. The library will display submissions and winners of the competition, including theoretical drawings of particles in an infinite lattice, and an image of nanomaterials using transmission electron microscopy. Beyond the microscopic, some of the art submitted chronicles the emotional journeys and obstacles graduate students face during their careers. Come and vote for your favorite piece — the winning artists will receive a tote bag of fun chemistry swag. Before you go, snap a photo with the library’s periodic table, signed by Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Families look at dinosaur bones
Families check out the triceratops in the Bioscience and Natural Resources Library last year. (Photo by Cade Johnson for the UC Berkeley Library)

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

See a life-size T-Rex and pterodactyl. Visit the triceratops! Bring the youngsters, and dive into a book truck full of dinosaur books, or visit the coloring station for kids. The Bioscience & Natural Resources Library will exhibit unusual and rare items from its collections, such as a display of the state butterfly, public health books in braille, and a curious eye-measuring device. There will also be an poster exhibit showing off undergraduate research. This is a stop on the Library Passport!

Mapping Off the Plane: Bird’s-Eye View Maps & More
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
50 McCone Hall, Earth Sciences and Map Library

Explore Berkeley from above with a pop-up exhibit curated by Geography Department graduate student Eve McGlynn at the Earth Sciences and Map Library. The exhibit features bird’s-eye and aerial views of the Bay Area and beyond. Take the world for a spin with the Library’s new digital globe, which can depict images such as global ocean currents, or the rippling path of the 2004 tsunami. Librarians will be around to help you explore the map collection — one of the largest in California. This is a stop on the Library Passport!