By Ann Miller

The Solano County Library will be hosting twin dedications at the Fairfield Civic Center Library on Saturday, August 18 at 11 a.m.  The dedications of the Library’s Sensory Garden and a memorial bench for Mary Bourguignon, long-time library champion and literacy booster, will be held behind the Kentucky Street building near the pond.    


Bourguignon, who died suddenly in March 2017, was a community activist who devoted her time to building parks, preserving open space, and improving local schools. She was also active in the Slow Food movement and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).   However her work for Solano County Library may be her most significant legacy.


“Mary was a tireless community leader, and perhaps her most important work was her vigorous support of our libraries,” said Bonnie Katz, Solano County Library’s director.


Bourguignon was the campaign manager for Measure B, the 1/8th of a penny sales tax devoted exclusively to libraries which was passed in 1998.  She stepped up again in 2012 as co-campaign manager, a responsibility she shared with her friend Ann Cousineau, to lead the successful campaign to renew the tax before its sunset. Bourguignon was also active in the Solano County Library Foundation, serving as its executive director for two years and championing its pediatric literacy program, Read Out and Read.


Bourguignon’s life will be celebrated with a special reading bench, paid for by funds raised by her family and friends.  The bench will be placed in the Sensory Garden as a place for anyone to read and enjoy the garden.


The library’s sensory garden was one of five ideas chosen for a $1000 staff innovation grant sponsored by Solano County Library, an initiative designed to support staff who engage the community in new or enhanced ways.

Serena Enger, the supervising librarian at the Fairfield Civic Center branch and Teresa Lavell, a literacy program assistant who works at the location, partnered on the proposal and solicited in-kind donations to supplement the “start-up” funds of the initiative.  The Solano County Community Foundation donated $7028 to the project.  The garden will include an area for outdoor storytimes along with a wide range of plants to engage the senses. The space will host programs and school visits for youth as well as drawing, art and gardening programs for adults.

“It is exciting to create a new community space.  It is a wonderful way to honor Mary and extend to the outdoors the library’s mission of sparking curiosity, inspiring creativity, and championing learning. I think Mary would be proud,” said Katz.




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