I got my first library card at age 19. I imagined curling up and reading a good book with a nice cup of coffee. But, like most college students, it is hard for me to find the time and opportunity to read for pleasure, and Ryan Library doesn’t offer the same array of pleasure reading books that city libraries do — unless you prefer reading encyclopedias. Fortunately, PLNU students have a few near-campus options for reading and community.
San Diego Public Library- Point Loma Branch
This library is the Tajmahal of public libraries. I mean, talk about presentation. I entered this library and was floored (literally, the floors were beautiful) by the grandness of the place. The big windows of the library let in a lot of natural light, creating an open-space concept. The whole atmosphere of this library oozes of suburban family fun, but it also feels like a place that could stimulate your imagination. This library has a lot of things going for it, so I’ll try to “Spark Notes” some of it for you.
The library has two levels — the top for adults and the bottom for children. There are tons of desks and reading corners to lounge in, and there’s even an outdoor patio. The librarians wander around the library or behind the help desks and are quick to answer any questions you may have.
Catty-corner to the help desk is a staircase wrapping around a pirate’s ship that children can play on. Yes, a huge pirate’s ship! On the downstairs floor, the children obtain access to learning tools, video and audio labs as well as tutoring programs. This library seemed to be the “cool” spot for middle schoolers after school. It seems like a place the children can grow their love for books instead of electronics.
“I had a library card back home. I never didn’t have any books checked out,” said sophomore business major Carson Buol. “I decided to get a public library card to relive those experiences while I was in college, and I thoroughly enjoy supporting [what] I see as extremely valuable to the general [public] as a whole.”
This library holds a large variety of genres and titles. You name it, they got it. The librarians even provide shelf labels indicating their favorite books. I have often seen dated novels in public libraries, so I was impressed by the new flashy best sellers that line the shelves.
“My favorite genre is either fantasy or mystery,” Buol said. “I enjoy mystery because it actively engages my mind while I read and attracts me to the book in ways other genres can’t.”
If you’re missing out on your love for reading and want a free Barnes and Noble experience, go to the Point Loma Public Library, located at 3701 Voltaire St.
San Diego Public Library-Ocean Beach Branch
I guess you could say this a hole-in-the-wall library. The Ocean Beach Branch Library is located next to the Ocean Beach Post Office at 4801 Santa Monica Ave., but the buildings look the same. In comparison, the Point Loma Branch is a J. Crew while the OB Branch is a thrift store, but it fits the OB vibe to a T.
I immediately laughed at the sand on the floor as I entered the small library. The darker wood of the shelves and desks make the L-shape library feel more cozy than the previous. To the right of the centered help desk is the young adult section. The decor of the children’s area features busty mermaid figurines atop of the shelves and old hourglass timers. I felt like I was walking through an extension of the OB farmer’s market.
If I am reading between the lines here, the adult section of the library had an accurate representation of OB as a whole. I witnessed an old man watching R rated movies on the desktop, two old men playing chess and a brightly dressed woman reading a gardening book.
In particular, I loved the seed library, which is a specific shelf of books on gardening.
“It’s really fun to see community gardeners come in and people who are interested in environmental issues,” OB library attendant Destiny Rivera said.
There’s more of a variety of people than books in this library, and the teen options are limited.
“We don’t have many teens because they go to the Point Loma library,” OB library branch manager Matt Beatty said. “There are a lot of starter families so they don’t have that many children here yet. I love working at this branch because we have strong community. People who come here aren’t people who don’t have a sense of where they are from — they are ‘OB-tian.’ Not many people check out books because they have a sense that everything belongs to everybody.”
This a good place to go for community or to people watch. I witnessed a lot of local charm and rootedness in this place. Do not judge this one by its cover.
Written By: Anna Carlson