April 2012 home page

Ann Gardner | Via Latina


Gretchen Schmidt. Photo courtesy Del Mar Library


Gretchen Schmidt is our Wizard of Oz, turning knobs behind the scenes to create magic at the Del Mar Library despite a reduced budget for staff and books. The Del Mar branch is one of thirty-three in the County system and, in contrast to San Diego’s branch library in Carmel Valley, has been able to maintain, even increase, their hours while the City’s have cut back drastically. How do they do it?


Photo courtesy Del Mar Library


“Volunteers, donations, sharing and a great staff,” exclaimed Schmidt, Del Mar’s Branch Manager. “There are volunteers here every single day, from high school students providing Homework Help every Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. to faculty from Scripps Performing Arts Academy who provide fun and music every second Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Donations allow us to have 120 magazines rather than eight, ten newspapers not one and the Friends of the Library run a used book ‘store’ here that brings in extra dollars. The County policy of sharing books within the system rather than buying books helps keep inventories current. There is also access to books from other institutions (LA and San Francisco libraries or Cal Poly for instance) via Link + and San Diego Circuit and free E-books via Overdrive (sign up for a 10 a.m. May 5 how-to-use session). As a result, even though the number of volumes in any one County library has not grown the sharing has and so have the number of library cards and book waiting lists, sometimes over 100 names!

In addition to an inventory of 25,000 items that includes large print and audio books and also CDs, DVDs and local history tapes, the Del Mar Library offers hundreds of free events and classes. It is not unusual to see strollers lined up outside. Babies 6 to 18 months old are probably at Baby Lap-sit Story Time going home with a toy or board book. Toddlers ages 1-2 might be at Toddler Story Time with songs and finger plays and children ages 3-5 making crafts in a Pre-school art class. There is even a Spanish/English Bilingual Story Time. And every second Wednesday Sandra Dodd teaches Art for Kids five and up beginning at 4 p.m.


Reading to the trained therapy dogs. Photo courtesy Del Mar Library

One of the more unusual programs is “Love on A Leash” at 10 a.m., the 1st and 3rd Saturday of every month, when children have fun reading to trained therapy dogs, improving their reading skills and picking out a free prize from the Library Treasure Chest. Later in the day kids can wear their PJs to the library for Story Time at 6:30 p.m. every 4th Wednesday.

Next month we will cover some of the adult class offerings. In the meantime check out the April 2012 Calendar of Events for the Del Mar Library on our website www.delmarsandpiper.org or at www.sdcl.org. Whether a children’s program or adults, e.g. Investment Discussions, Armchair Travel, conversational French or beginning Mandarin Chinese you will be surprised at the choices. Lastly take time to smell the roses: the Del Mar Rose Society’s Annual Show opens at the Library at 6 p.m., Thursday April 26 and on April 27 at 11 a.m. Harpist Mair Rathburn will present an “Acoustic Showcase.”


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