Pleasanton library cards have a fresh new design thanks to Foothill High School freshman Afreen Shameem.
The 14-year-old Pleasanton girl's artwork, now gracing the top of library cards being distributed at the Pleasanton Public Library, was selected as the winner of the library's design contest from among more than 100 submissions this spring.
"When I found out that I won, I was shocked and excited because it is a big accomplishment for me," Shameem said before the City Council ceremony honoring her achievement Tuesday night.
"I feel honored that my design will represent the library on the card and that the residents and children will be carrying my artwork," she added. "I also thank the staff and judges for choosing my design."
Shameem's artwork stood out because of its depiction of values representative of the library and Pleasanton itself, according to Heidi Murphy, director of library services.
"Afreen's design was chosen by the Library Commission because it best embraced the Library's mission statement: 'Start your journey here: discover, connect, share,'" Murphy said. "She also incorporated the iconic downtown Pleasanton arch, footprints and paw prints, and the joy of learning that we love to see at the Library."
Reflecting on her design, Shameem recalled, "I chose to include symbols that represent Pleasanton and the library, such as the Pleasanton Arch and books. The arch stood out because I see it when I visit downtown. I love to draw cartoons and to relate to the mission statement, I chose to show how discoveries can be made in books and ideas be connected to our own lives and shared with others."
Art has been a passion of Shameem's since she started doodling as a toddler. She now enjoys a variety of artistic media, including drawing, painting and crafting, in addition to other hobbies such as bicycling, swimming, reading, basketball, tennis and playing the piano.
The council recognized her with a special commendation, and attendees shared a cake with her library card design on top.
In other business
* Council members appointed local author Meg Fleming as the city's first-ever literary arts ambassador Tuesday night.
The new position, which expands upon the city's former adult poet laureate program, aims to raise awareness about the importance of reading and writing as it relates to lifelong literacy and education.
A three-year Pleasanton resident, Fleming has had two books published and two more are due out next year. She has also been actively involved in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
A candidates review committee and the Civic Arts Commission chose Fleming as their top candidate for the two-year post from among three applicants following open recruitment earlier this summer. Fleming will receive a $1,000 stipend for work related to her new position.
Community services director Susan Andrade-Wax said Fleming was selected because her "knowledge, accomplishments and experience coupled with her enthusiasm and love of the written word would be an excellent match for the literature ambassador program," adding that Fleming would also be "a thought-provoking mentor for the teen poet laureates."
Fleming's role serves to replace the adult poet laureate position, which ran successfully from 1999 to 2015 with eight residents holding the post over those years but has gone without a new appointee following several failed recruitment attempts since Sandra Harrison Kay's term ended in 2015.
* The council also named the city's next teen poet laureates -- two girls from each comprehensive high school -- to serve from September to May.
The group includes first-time appointees Yasmin Ghaemmaghani (Amador Valley) and Varsha Vaidyanath (Foothill) and reappointed teen poet laureates Irene Sha (Amador Valley) and Nithya Swaminathan (Foothill).
Ghaemmaghani and Vaidyanath are 11th and 12th since the program started in 2012. The position aims to provide poetry at civic events and promote the appreciation of literary arts in the Pleasanton community.
After the appointments, the council hosted original readings by Fleming and the four teen poet laureates.