San Diego Libraries, Much More than Books

Eileen Hauser of the San Diego Public Library, Librarian/Branch Manager North Clairemont Branch Library
By Eileen Hauser, Librarian/Branch Manager North Clairemont Branch Library

On August 1, 1981, MTV aired the very first music video “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Yet thirty-four years later, we’re still tuning in our radios to hear our favorite singers.  After all, music listening has evolved.  First, it was the wind-up Victrola, then the 45 rmp vinyl spinning on record players, cassette mixtapes, cds and now, streaming!  More newly written songs are played on the airwaves because there are more radio stations on the air now than ever.

As a librarian, I am asked about the future of libraries as the popularity of Google increases.  My reply is that the library is actually more relevant. Much of what comes over the Internet lacks verification, but readers peruse sites for information regardless.  Websites like WebMD list medical content, yet readers still rely on visits to their doctor.   Similarly, legal information like municipal codes and statutes are available online, but citizens need lawyers to interpret legalese.  Likewise, librarians are information professionals who help moderate the flood of information and can locate accurate information from authoritative sources. Even the materials found in libraries are carefully selected by librarians, not Google.

In other words, today’s library has evolved into so much more than a destination to pick up a bestseller.  Now it is infused with technology, accessibility and adaptability.  Today’s libraries loan not only DVDs and recorded books.  Magazines have become increasingly expensive, but libraries help you save money by making these glossy periodicals available to borrow. You can even read magazines online through an app called Zinio found on the San Diego Public library’s website.  We also offer BOOKFLIX, a children’s resource that animates and narrates stories, helping to develop early literacy.  Indeed, the library has something for everyone.

The library staff provides both instruction and classes on topics from how to use electronic tablets or your new smart phone.  We even provide one-on-one personalized assistance on how to download library books to your devices.

Barriers to after-hours information seeking have been eliminated.  Do you need to do research after the library has closed? Rather than waiting for the library to open, log in to sandiegolibrary.org and click “articles and databases” using your library card. Within minutes you can have access to full-text articles from rigorously edited and prestigious journals and send them directly to your personal email.  Trying to fix your short-wave radio or other contraption?  You can access SAMS Technical Repair Manuals online which has been providing reliable, consistent repair data for electronics repair technicians, antique electronics restorers, and hobbyists for almost 70 years.

Did you want to learn a new language?  Connect to Rosetta Stone via the library’s website and get started. You can even take an online course with your library card or earn your high school degree through the San Diego Public library’s Career Online High School.  Your library card is a powerful tool.

Additionally, Mayor Faulconer’s DO YOUR HOMEWORK AT THE LIBRARY Program at some branches provides free homework assistance Monday through Thursday after school to help students with their assignments.

Just between the three libraries in Clairemont alone, there is a wide variety of cultural programs and classes.  We’ve planned concerts, parenting classes, seminars, crafts, Lego Clubs, storytimes, science classes, book discussions and more. The library is a place where people of all ages can come together to learn, connect and exchange ideas.

Can’t think of a good book to read? Just ask a librarian.  We are a part of your community and we want to talk with you.   Did a page fall out of your favorite cookbook and you can’t find the recipe anywhere?  Ask the librarian!   Are you traveling overseas?  Borrow some travel books or DVDs to enhance your experience and help you plan.  Have a road trip coming up? Borrow or download a “talking book” which to listen to on the way—the time in the car will pass quickly. Need a place with free wifi to get some work done or apply for a job? Try the library’s new comfortable study chairs provided by Councilman Chris Cate.  Is your printer broken?  Come on in and use our computers to print your documents.

If you have been avoiding the library due to some incidental fines, the library will only charge you half of your fines during the month of September 2015.*

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MTV has reinvented and rebranded itself, and so has the public library.  No matter who you are, the library is a place where you can get comfortable and connect with the information you need, utilize technology, learn something new or have a discussion about some good books or movies.

The Internet has not eliminated the need for a library or librarians, we are here to stay, and we hope to see you soon!

We are lucky to have 3 library branches in Clairemont.

North Clairemont Library

4616 Clairemont Drive

San Diego, CA 92117

(858) 581-9931

Balboa Library

4255 Mt. Abernathy Ave

San Diego, CA  92117

(858) 573-1390

Clairemont Library

2920 Burgener Blvd.

San Diego, CA  92110

(858) 581-9935

www.sandiego.gov/public-library

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