In an effort to spread a message of peace in the community, the Philomath Community Library unveiled its “1,000 Paper Cranes” artwork Friday with a special celebration. The piece features 25 strands, each with 40 origami cranes, and hangs from the 27-foot ceiling in the front entrance lobby.
“A year ago, we wanted to put together a community project and we were inspired by the story of ‘Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes’ story, so we decided to fold 1,000 paper cranes with the community,” reference librarian Julia Engel said after finishing up a storytime. “We had a station over here with paper and instructions and our adult craft group did work on them sometimes but it was mostly just people coming in. Some people contributed several hundred but it was a lot of people.”
“Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” is a short novel published in 1977 based on the story of Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima, Japan, at the time of the atomic bombing during World War II. Sadako was age 2 at the time, living with her family about a mile from the bomb drop site. When she was 12, she was diagnosed with leukemia and died Oct. 25, 1955.
Engel said the book is “a message of peace; it’s come to symbolize peace.”
“I think it’s a beautiful and great way to bring in the new year with the community,” said community library specialist Ann Helms.
It’s already provided a personal connection for some in the community.
“We had a family in here a couple days ago and I was explaining to her about that connection,” said Mari Beth Hackett, community library specialist. "She said when she was a little girl, she read that book and it changed her life.”
The concept, collaboration on creation and completion took several months.
“We hit the 1,000 around the end of the summer and then it took us a while to string them up,” Engel said. “Each one of those strings of 40 cranes takes about an hour and there’s 25 of them, so it took us a while to get all of those put together.”
Philomath Public Works installed the origami crane artwork Thursday morning. The 25 strands hang from wine barrel hoops, which were attached to the ceiling with cables. Hackett said the longest strand measures around 10 feet.
“They did so much and we had volunteers help string the cranes,” Hackett said. “It was totally a collaboration with Philomath.”
Friday’s special event featured crafts (cranes and snowflakes), storytime, refreshments and music.
“It kinda transformed into peace, a symbol of peace, so we just wanted to do a community collaboration with Philomath and wish everybody health and peace and just do something special and make the library pretty,” Hackett said.