The El Cerrito Garden Club has taken on a lot of beautification projects over its history, and one of its most significant is also one of the smallest. On Memorial Day last year, the club and the Richmond Museum Association dedicated a Blue Star Memorial Marker surrounded by potted plants on the concrete pier where the SS Red Oak Victory is docked at the Port of Richmond.

The marker -- one of three the club has sponsored -- is a tribute to those men and women who have served in the armed forces of the United States. The Blue Star Marker is a national program originated and sponsored by the Garden Clubs of America.

The marker at the Red Oak will be rededicated at a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Richmond Museum Association and the El Cerrito Garden Club on Monday at 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond.

The observance next to the historic World War II ship will start with refreshments at 10 a.m. and patriotic music by Red Oak JACS at 10:30 a.m. The dedication ceremony is at 11 a.m.

The event is free, but any donations will be gratefully accepted. For more details, call 510-237-2933.

The El Cerrito Garden Club (www.elcerritogardenclub.org) has also sponsored Blue Star markers at El Cerrito City Hall and Arlington Park.

LIBRARY NEWS: Mark your calendar for the centennial anniversary celebration of the El Cerrito Library, 6510 Stockton Ave., from 7 to 9 p.m. June 14. The program -- co-hosted by the branch, the city, the Friends of the El Cerrito Library, the New Library Committee and the El Cerrito Historical Society -- will include a historical slide show and the expected remarks by city, county and library officials.

  • The 26-branch Contra Costa Library system (ccclib.org) is also celebrating 100 years and has created a Facebook page called Memories of a Lifetime in Contra Costa County. The page just kicked off but already looks ready to fulfill its mission of fun and interactivity by providing a means for the public to share memories and photographs relating to their experiences in the county.

    The page "will include a timeline allowing people to document where they have been in the county's last 100 years" and will share photos, as well as "interactive questions to get the community engaged and talking. Some questions will allow people to share their favorite anecdotes and martini recipes." If you're on Facebook, you can get started by going to http://on.fb.me/10jq0Hj and liking the page.

  • The Berkeley Public Library is holding a three-part lecture series on the city's actions after the nation entered World War II at 2 p.m. Saturdays in the third-floor Community Meeting Room of the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge St. The talks by historian and Berkeley City College teacher Chuck Wollenberg start June 1 with "Ruth Kingman, the Fair Play Committee and the Japanese-American Internment." As the announcement notes, "Ruth Kingman was a pioneering Berkeley political activist and one of the few people who took effective action against the 'relocation' of Japanese-Americans."

    The series continues with "Codornices Village and the African-American Migration to Berkeley" on June 22 and concludes with "Lawrence and Oppenheimer: the Atomic Bomb and the Beginnings of Big Science" on June 29. Details: 510-981-6142.

  • The Richmond Public Library is trying something novel at its Bayview Branch, 5100 Hartnett Ave., where toys for children 6 and younger will be available to borrow for free to those who have a Richmond library card.

    "In creating a toy library for our community, the library hopes to provide a safe environment full of quality toys that children and families can borrow at no expense," writes children's librarian Karen Roy. "We hope to help parents become more informed consumers of toys, and to educate patrons about the importance of play. Toys provide a fun, enriching way to help children to learn faster and to develop their cognitive and motor skills."

    Toys can be checked out for up to four weeks (about the length of a young attention span) and "will be sanitized and inspected between borrowings."

    Details: 510-620-6566 or drop by the branch.

    WEST COUNTY NOTES: Albany resumes its Local Garden Swap, where residents can trade back yard produce, flowers and recipes, at 6:30 p.m. May 28 in the patio at the Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

  • Another reuse project is the new Albany Tool Pool, which is "now accepting donations of hand tools, gardening tools and working power tools" that can be dropped off at the Albany Senior Center, 846 Masonic Ave., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays.