On any given day, visitors to the Balboa Branch Library will find a variety of activities for patrons of all ages – tech tutoring, an adult writers’ group, math homework help, Lego club and preschool crafts.
On this Wednesday in April, Councilmember Chris Cate was reading “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” to an audience of young listeners between the ages of two and 10. The special story time was part of a National Library Week celebration complete with face painting, a Dewey Decimal scavenger hunt and an art project. Balboa is one of 36 branch libraries in the City of San Diego celebrating the week of April 9 through April 15 as National Library Week, an observance dating back to 1958.
“Libraries provide an opportunity for kids to come in and check books out and be here to read in a safe environment, but just down the hall we can have folks who are updating their resume and practicing skills to get back in the workforce,” said Councilmember Chris Cate. “Those are the types of things we need to encourage folks to take advantage of at our libraries.”
As libraries evolve to meet community needs, library attendance has gone up. In the past year, San Diego Public Library welcomed nearly seven million people, an increase of more than 20 percent in five years.
“Libraries are for everyone and offer unlimited opportunities for personal growth and lifelong learning,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “In our diverse communities of San Diego, libraries have the unique ability to level the playing field for people of any age seeking information, technology and other resources to improve their quality of life.”
This year, the San Diego Public Library will celebrate its 135th anniversary. The library system currently employs approximately 700 people across the city, and library volunteers contribute approximately 140,000 hours per year.
The American Library Association first sponsored National Library Week in 1958. Patrons are encouraged to share their love for libraries on social media using #LibrariesTransform.