I hope that the holiday season that is descending upon us is one that brings you great comfort and feelings of togetherness. As one of the librarians at Teen’Scape, I like to involve the young people that visit us in the true spirit of the holidays by sharing good cheer and merriment.
Hanukkah comes at the beginning of December this year and we will be celebrating in Teen’Scape the Festival of Lights with a giant dreidel. With a space as amazing as the Central Library’s rotunda, we at Teen’Scape will build and attempt to spin our dreidel some time between the December 6 - 14. We build our dreidel out of a kitchen broom handle, the largest cardboard box we can find, duct tape and poster paint. We might attempt a giant version of the internet famous Dr. Dreidel. Once made, we will spin to see who gets נ (Nun) and who gets to win the pot with ג (Gimmel).
Another way that we get into the spirit of the season is to celebrate the Winter Solstice. As the nights get longer and the days get colder, we will observe what plants are alive during this time of year by building seasonal sustainable wreaths with the teenagers.
For yet more science exposure with a holiday twist, the teenagers will be making pop-up greeting cards that will light up with LED lights on 12/15. I will encourage the teenagers to build the Downtown Los Angeles skyline.
I am a strong believer in the joy of sharing music with others, so we will be doing music jamming on some Christmas classics on 12/19. Bring your guitar or some acoustic instrument and your voice. We will sing and jam up a storm of some Christmas classics.
Other holiday events that happens at Central Library includes the giant Christmas tree that arrives in the rotunda the first week of December. The tree comes to the Library and takes 11 people to carry it up the stairs.
The tree is usually between 15-20 feet tall and requires a scissor lift to reach the top of the tree. Sometimes, the tree almost touches the rotunda’s globe chandelier. Because there are no electrical outlets in the rotunda itself, there are no Christmas lights on the tree. The sparkles on the tree comes from the glittery branches that are put on the tree.
Decorating a tree that is 15 feet tall requires ornaments that are large enough to be seen from the top of the tree as well as the bottom of the tree. The ornaments have to be shatter proof so that if they fall off the tree, the ornaments will not break. These days, most trees this size tend to be artificial; artficial tree branches are stronger and can support heavier ornaments than what a real tree can. The Central Library's tree is real and the ornaments need to be as light as possible.The photograph below is of the 2014 Christmas tree.
The 2015 Christmas tree is on view in the second floor rotunda of the Central Library through the end of the month. The best time to view a tree that glitters only from available light is during the golden hour (the hour before sunset) and until the Central Library closes for the night. At sunset, the magnificent rotunda basks in a warm gold and lends its glory to the tree, its decorations selected to compliment the mural and natural light.
There are more public Christmas trees throughout Downtown Los Angeles than just the one in the Library’s rotunda. Last year, Shelly Ray and I created a Google Map of all the Christmas trees we found with notes on each of the trees that we visited. We have only started looking for trees this past week, but will be updating the list for 2015. https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zIi-S6Pqu5QA.kt87t3v0dynA