February 27, 2014
Librarian Q&A: San Diego Public Library
by Claire Kelley
Last week we posted a short interview with Jennifer Lawson and Jenny Hanson from the San Diego County Library. The next visit on my trip up the West Coast was with Robyn Gage, Supervising Librarian at the San Diego Public Library downtown. This beautiful, brand-new, 185 million dollar, nine-story library opened in September 2013 and features a 350-seat auditorium, a three-story domed reading room, a 9,100-square-foot children’s room, a teen center, and a technology center.
Claire: Tell me about your role at the San Diego Public Library.
Robyn: I am involved in the selection, purchasing, cataloging and processing of materials for the library system here at the Central Library. In addition to this new central library that opened in September, we have 35 branches.
Claire: What are your favorite things to read personally?
Robyn: I love to browse the shelves and find something new. I read all genres.
Claire: What is unique about the San Diego Public Library?
Robyn: We are so spread out—our braches cover diverse communities, and we rely on our staff to stay attentive to the way that the communities are changing constantly. For example, a branch might be serving a community with mostly older or retired patrons, and then five years later, the population is mostly young families. We update our branch profiles constantly and use collectionHQ to keep track of circulation needs and assess factors that influence collection development. If we notice that books in a certain foreign language are being requested or checked out, we will meet those needs.
Claire: What programs or incentives are you particularly excited about at the San Diego Public Library?
Robyn: We offer the public technology services that are new, including a computer classroom for patrons to learn about electronic resources. Our library will soon be allowing patrons to check out preloaded Kindle and iPad devices, so we are working to get people comfortable using ebooks by setting up eclinics throughout the library system.
Claire: Why are libraries important?
Robyn: When I was in college, I leaned how to learn on my own by visiting the library. Libraries are important because they offer access to knowledge and serve as a college for everyone.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.