Check it out — libraries are back


Now that summer is officially underway, thanks to last Sunday’s solstice, it’s time to start building and chipping away at that summer reading list.

Independent bookstores—and chain stores, as well—are typically staffed with employees who can rattle off suggestions the way a bartender can rattle off a list of elixirs that will cure what ails you.

But my personal preference has always been libraries. They are akin to airports: each section a gateway to a historical episode that shaped a world, a fictional realm that challenges readers to imagine possibilities, or a private lecture room or laboratory where knowledge and “secrets” are distilled at an unhurried clip as many times as needed.

Without judgement.

At the same time they are also a rental agency of sorts. I can pop into a library, take a book out for a spin and determine if it’s something I’d like to own. For free!

(The borrowed book returns to the public shelves, of course, but armed with the knowledge that I like a particular author and would enjoy reading her work again and again, I can visit a bookstore and there an employee can offer recommendations of similar writers.)
Libraries in Chula Vista and National City are opening again. Like the first few pages of a novel—or a preface or a prologue or forward—they are easing into operations before they get going at full steam.

Currently they are operating with some limits or guidelines in place.

In Chula Vista the three branches are open for in-person browsing and checkout, though social distancing and face coverings are still required.

National City’s library just this week expanded their hours, Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday 1-5 p.m., but remain closed Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The library closes from 1-2 p.m. for cleaning when it is open. And National City still offers curbside services and Dial-a-story 24 hours a day by calling (619) 470-5814.

The pandemic and the necessary limits on some in-person services have been difficult and challenging for everyone. Libraries offer a place to escape while also serving as a hub for people to come together and socialize—in hushed tones or meeting rooms—and share ideas.

Hopefully now that they are gradually opening for business they can come together again and create their summer reading lists with one another. And me. New ideas are always welcome.

Check it out — libraries are back