Time to get crackin’ on library activities

Those of us who devour paperbacks like they’re weekend brunch know the satisfying crack of opening a new book. From the time we begin reading texts with a spine wide enough to crack, sometime in elementary school, a scolding teacher or school librarian tells us the delicious crack is wrong, terrible for the book. We do it anyway — crack— releasing the promise of a new adventure into the dark hours before bed, losing ourselves to another world during the ridiculous wait at the doctor’s office, sinking into the welcoming sand at the beach on a much-needed vacation and savoring our time on the plane flight home. Sure, we’re curious about the story but there is optimism in opening a new book itself. The magic lies not in knowing bullet points of the plot from a back cover synopsis but in knowing we have an entirely new book to read, details yet to be discovered.

Jessica Brodkin Webb

If cracking open a fresh book is a New Year’s celebration, a sudden burst of glittering energy at midnight, then a library is perpetually 11:59 p.m. with anticipatory joy at all the possibilities a year can contain. According to Library Journal, most libraries are facing three trends that will shape their functionality in years to come. However, the leap from changing a library to changing a life is a rather short hop.
The first trend, a shift toward digital services, implies a need for mobility and agility, being able to reinvent the familiar so it is more easily utilized. Where a library might digitize specific collections, the new year might serve as an impetus for any one person to begin saving their documents digitally, back up their entire photo collection to that invisible cloud or generally shift toward a less cluttered life. There is a choice to be made in there, but the decision is somewhat forced by the rest of the world demanding we keep up with changing times. The same patron who stops to admire a 1923 photo also expects fast book delivery in 2023 and if they cannot quickly reserve a book through their library’s website, they will order it online.

The second trend suggests library staff has had to become more efficient with a budget since the start of the pandemic. With some of the fastest growing home prices in the nation, gas prices that broke county records in 2022 and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more spent in California on both insurance and entertainment than the national average, there is little doubt residents are stretching their budget with no guarantee pre-pandemic pricing will ever return. If library staff are pinching pennies then people are looking for pennies to pinch with many coming up shorter and shorter each month. Good thing a library card is free.

The third trend indicates libraries are increasingly challenged to illustrate their value. This is, perhaps, the most human challenge of all: to look back at what you have done, look ahead to what you might be able to accomplish and set out making a must-do list to increase one’s value. A person’s list might include ‘lose weight, quit smoking, go back school’ but decoding the list leads to ‘be more agile, make wiser financial choices, increase value’. It can be hard to stick to it past January 16 when it would be far easier to gently close the door and tell the world you are unavailable. However, there are shelves full of novels, new and old, waiting for someone to pull them from curated shelves at the local library, along with freshly printed flyers featuring computer training, tutoring, kids’ activities and teen book clubs. It is a new year.
Crack the book.

• Meet other families and enjoy fun skill building games and toys during Preschool Play from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Bonita-Sunnyside library.

• Art enthusiasts are invited to the Bonita-Sunnyside library from 4 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 10 and Jan. 24 to learn art skills and create a new piece to take home.

• Science Explorers meets at the Bonita-Sunnyside library on Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. with hands-on STEM activities for kids.

• The Bonita-Sunnyside library is offering a three-week Microsoft Word basics class from 11 a.m. to noon on Jan. 14, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28. Registration is required, contact the library to sign up and learn how to create and format documents, edit and save files, and more.

• Join the Rush Hour book club at the Bonita-Sunnyside library which meets monthly. January’s title is ‘The Book of Hope’ by Jane Goodall and will be discussed from 6 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 17.

• The Bonita-Sunnyside library also has a chess club which meets Thursdays from 4 to 5 p.m. with all ages and abilities welcome to join in.

• Join older adults for Silver Age Yoga at the Bonita-Sunnyside library Thursdays from 11 a.m. to noon.
• Learn to design and print your own project on the Bonita-Sunnyside library’s 3D printer from 2 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 21. Beginners welcome, for all ages.

• Adults of all ability levels are invited to hang out for a craft session from 10 to 11 a.m. on Jan. 7 at the Bonita-Sunnyside library. Regular craft sessions are offered on the first and third Wednesdays of every month.

• Every Friday, the Bonita-Sunnyside library has story time from 11 a.m. to noon.

• Acompáñenos a disfrutar de cuentos, canciónes y más en español e inglés, Jueves de 11 a 11:30 a.m. el 26 de enero en la biblioteca Bonita-Sunnyside.
Visit www.sdcl.org for information on these and other Bonita-Sunnyside library events.

• Older residents are invited to Senior Socials with coffee, crafts, games and senior tech help every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon at the National City library, or at Casa de Salud on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1408 Harding Avenue.

• Join in on adult craft classes the second Wednesday of every month, next held at 6 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the National City library.

• Book club is held the third Tuesday of every month at the National City library, coming up next at 1 p.m. on Jan. 17. The January selection is “The Sunflower Sisters” by Martha Hall Kelly, as suggested by resident Jill Wien-Badger.

• Teens and young adults are invited to join the Bookflix club and discuss books and graphic novels being made into shows and movies. The Bookflix club meets at 6 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the National City library, next held on Jan. 24.

• STEAM Saturdays happen every first and third Saturday at the National City library. Meet from 2 to 3 p.m. on Jan. 7 and Jan. 21 in the large meeting room.
Visit nationalcityca.gov for more information on these and additional National City library events.

• Celebrate the new year with a quick make-and-take craft. Stop by the Otay Ranch Branch to pick up a craft that you can complete at home, while supplies last.

• Visit the Otay Ranch branch library for a ‘tween’ craft session from 4 to 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 19.

• The Otay Ranch branch library hosts a family story time for children under age 3 every Tuesday from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m.

• The Otay Ranch branch library also hosts their Ready, Set, Read program for young children from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. every Wednesday.

• A representative from US4Warriors will be at the Chula Vista civic center branch library from 1 to 3 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of every month to provide services to veterans and eligible family members. Call ahead to reserve a 30-minute session: (619) 691-5069.

• The South Chula Vista branch library holds story time every Wednesday from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m.

• The South Chula Vista branch library Lego Club meets from 4 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 26 through Jan. 29.
Visit chulavistaca.gov/departments/library for more information on these and additional Chula Vista library events.

You can email Jessica at: jessica@integritynews.us with comments and suggestions.