"This is our exciting first year, where we will take two days each June to really promote the library and its programs to the people of Redlands," said Nathan Gonzales, associate archivist in the division of special collections at the library.
Gonzales reviewed what was on exhibit Friday and what will be shown Saturday.
"For this inaugural run, we selected the theme of the 40th anniversary of the Heritage Room, which was begun in 1972," Gonzales said. "We are highlighting parts of that collection, and I think people will be surprised to learn about the breadth and depth of the collections that the people of Redlands own. It really is remarkable."
An exhibit of rare photographs, pamphlets, letters, maps, books and objects will be in the Heritage Room on Saturday as well.
Gonzales said the tours held Friday were scheduled for the Friends of the Library, which is one of the largest, if not the largest organizations, in Redlands.
"We are taking groups of 15 to 20 people through all of the recesses of the basement, to see first hand some of the things that that they might not know existed," Gonzales said. "In addition to that, we have set up a two-day exhibit of really rare and interesting materials in the Heritage Room."
Some items on the tour included books on Lincoln and the Civil War, a California book collection, and postmarks from Redlands, dated back to 1886.
There are parts of special collections that go back to the founding of the library in 1894.
"One of the neat things on exhibit today (Friday) is Albert Smiley's dedication speech, from when the library building was opened in 1898, which is pretty remarkable," said Gonzales.
He said that local history collection really began in 1908 and the library has been collecting materials related to the history of
He said that he's excited about this being the inaugural Library Days event.
"It's energizing to have new programs, even in spite of the financial difficulties that we are all facing right now," Gonzales said. "Being able to do something new and different and introduce people to our collections in ways they weren't aware of before is exciting."
The exhibit continues Saturday in the Heritage Room, and there will be four hours of historic films about the city.
The Redlands Fourth of July Band will perform at noon and 4 p.m. Hobo Jazz, a local group, also will perform in Smiley Park, and there will be a special children's program in the Warren Elliot Children's Garden.
Limited seating will be available, but people are urged by the library director Larry Burgess to bring a chair or a blanket for those shows.
"I believe they are reading from our first edition of the book `Ferdinand.' This is an amazing piece from our rare collection," Gonzales said.
"In the case of `Ferdinand' by Munro Leaf, the library's copy is autographed to the children of Redlands from his visit in 1936 right after the book was published," said Pam Kerr, young readers librarian, in a previous news release.
Popcorn and bottled water will be served in the Assembly Room during the showing of the historic films about Redlands dating from just after World War I to the 1950s.
A.K. Smiley Library DaysSaturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. "Historic Treasures," Heritage Room.
10 a.m. to noon, 1 to 3 p.m. "Redlands History in Film: 1925-1958," Assembly Room.
10 to 4 p.m. Friends of the Library sale of Redlands history books, Smiley Park.
11 to 11:30 a.m. Readings for kids from rare children's books, Warren Elliott Children's Garden.
Noon to 1 p.m. Redlands Fourth of July Band concert, Smiley Park.
2 to 2:45 p.m. Historical vignettes from Larry Burgess, Don McCue and Nathan Gonzales.
3 to 4 p.m. Hobo Jazz concert, Smiley Park.
There will be an informal lecture by the library's historians on "Local History & Sausage: Should We See How It's Made?: Knee-slappers, side-grabbers," and other levities from local history.
A new self-guided library discovery game challenging players to identify interior and exterior features of the library - "Guess Where?" - will be unveiled during the two days.
Those who enter and have high scores will win a prize.
"Smiley Library is more than just a local municipal library. Smiley Library is known not only throughout California, but it's known nationally for its operation," said Gonzales. "We have people come from all over the country to do research in special collections. This library is really on the map for scholars."
Library Days is made possible by a grant from Esri, as well as support from the Friends of the Library and library volunteers in the Heritage Room and adult and children's services, a spokesman said.