Books come alive in Library


Bertha Aguilar

Students Elijah Mesina and Mark Villarreal talk to Dan Rosenstrauch, a photojournalist of 40 years for the Contra Costa Times.

It was déjà vu in the Los Medanos College Library Tuesday, Oct. 28 as books came alive once again and doled out words of wisdom to those who would listen.
During an encore performance of Books Alive! event at LMC, more than 14 career-themed human books were available for 20-minute checkout periods.
Evila Briones was one of many students interested in checking out human books. One that caught her attention was IT specialist and small business owner, Brian Jacobson.
“It was important for me to learn the do’s and the don’ts of business management and accounting,” she said, adding that is what she is studying at LMC.
“A Firefighter Who Becomes a College Dean,” “A Photojournalist from the Contra Costa Times,” “A Nursing Instructor and Modern Dancer” and a “Veteran and Non-Profit Founder” were among the many human books at the event.
During the checkout period, book borrowers learned interesting things about their human books of choice, such as:
n How a photojournalist from the Contra Costa Times escaped the Vietnam War draft by enrolling at Diablo Valley College and taking his first photography class. “I never took a picture before that, but I started and I liked it,” said Dan Rosenstrauch.
n How a nursing instructor from Belfast, Ireland, who is also a professional modern dancer, loves to teach and performs in class to keep his students interested. Colin McDowell explained that, “a professional is someone the community decides to invest knowledge in.”
n How a female firefighter excelled in a male-dominated profession and is now dean of Career Technical Education and Social Sciences. Natalie Hannum recalled the time she first became a firefighter: “I started when there weren’t a lot of women so I felt lonely.”
Student Hector Roblero, who found out about this event from his political science professor, heard some life-changing advice from his session with Gerald Wilson “J.R.,” who served in the Army from 1990 to 1994, but was injured during an airborne jump in 1993. “He taught me a new idea from learning and moving on from my mistakes,” said Roblero.
Wilson started the Delta Veterans Group, whose main purpose is to help veterans transition from serving their country to serving their communities. You can learn more at
This was the second Books Alive! event at LMC — the first happened last spring and focused on personal stories. A third Books Alive! event is scheduled for spring 2015 when there will be a new set of human books to check out, according to Technical Services Librarian Christine Parks, who brought the idea to LMC.