February 21, 2014

Librarian Q&A: San Diego County Library


Jennifer Lawson, left, and Jenny Hanson at the San Diego County Library.

Jennifer Lawson, left, and Jenny Hanson at the San Diego County Library.

On a trip up the West Coast from the Freshman Year Experience Conference in San Diego to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, I’ve been stopping to meet with collection librarians along the way. My first stop was the San Diego County Library, located in an administrative building about 20 minutes from downtown San Diego. I got to meet with Jennifer Lawson and Jenny Hanson who answered a few questions.

Claire: Tell me about your role at the San Diego County Library.

Jennifer: The San Diego Library includes 33 branches and 2 mobile libraries. I supervise catalog and collection development, and work with databases and contract negotiation.

Jenny: I am the selector for adult materials—fiction and non-fiction—and ebooks.

Claire: What are your favorite things to read personally?

Jennifer: I primarily read young adult literature, across all genres, even the angsty stuff.

Jenny: I read books for young adult and kids and I also like fantasy, romance, mystery and horror.

Claire: What is unique about the San Diego County Library System?

Jennifer: We were named Library of the Year in 2012, and I think that’s because our director moves us to be innovative and we have great programming.  We offer everything from health services to storytime to foreclosure prevention clinics.

Jenny: We’re also really varied geographically. While we’re smaller than the state of Connecticut, we have laid back beach towns, mountains, valleys, deserts, and communities with lots of tourists.

Claire: Why are libraries important?

Jennifer: Libraries are equalizing for people without access or who can’t afford access to information and materials, and we’re providing that.

Claire: How are libraries changing?

Jennifer: Obviously electronic books are causing some changes, so there’s a natural shift toward programming and the relevance to the public as a community center.



Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.