Our Library, One Year Later
Last updated 1/23/2020 at 1:35pm
It began as a dream for a new Library for the little town of Borrego Springs from Bill and Jenny Wright. That dream was morphed into a handshake agreement over lunch at La Casa Del Zorro in February 2006 between Bill Wright and his friend, fellow U.S. Marine, and then County Supervisor Bill Horn. The handshake developed into a plan on land donated by the Wright's to the absolute delight of current president of the Friends of the Library Betsy Knaak, and 11 years later on October 24, 2017, we had ourselves a groundbreaking ceremony with golden shovels on hand, an event attended by over 150 Borregans, plus Supervisor Jim Desmond and other County officials, reps from the construction firm BN Builders, RNT Architects and Richard+Bauer Architecture.
On Dec. 8, 2018, came the grand opening of the new 18,000 square foot County Library, a sheriff's substation, and park. The 16-acre project was now up and running.
Being at the Ceremony was one of Bill Horn's last official duties after serving 24 years as our 5th District Supervisor. The Borrego Library, as was the case for eight other libraries he sponsored, was a high priority during the last years of his service.
Bill and Jenny Wright were on-hand, and as early backers of the Library and donators of all the land in the Complex, Horn and several other speakers, including Supervisor Jim Desmond, thanked them effusively.
So after a year of library operations, how's it going over there? Who better to answer that question than Betsy Knaak and the people who work there?
"Where did we all meet before?!" Knaak said.
In that tiny little anteroom just off the old library's main room, that's where.
"Together with the Community Room, the new, larger public gathering spaces has been one of the premier benefits of the new library," Knaak said.
"The extensive use of the Conference Room is one of the big surprises! Kudos to the library staff for all their help with meeting scheduling, set up, and audio-visual support."
Assistant Librarian Cristin McVey also weighed in. "I believe the numbers for last year were 700+ programs and 13,000 program attendees passing through our doors, and 73,000+ books circulated. Pretty good for a small town. In the coming months, we look forward to hosting free panels for the Borrego Springs Film Festival, another Dark Sky Party in February with SDAA, and more musical concerts. It should be a fun and busy season at the library."
Even outsiders have commented on our largess. "We frequently hear from visitors about how lucky we are to have such an amazing library in our community," she said.
Says Library Tech III Diana Kumler, "To me the new library is a gift to the community from the people who fought for 20 years to make it happen. We can see by the use of the community room, conference room, teen area, and children's area that the need was great. The programs I find most useful are the class visits and programs that encourage new library users. Most interesting are the programs that we did not have before – author visits and meditation."
And as for the lead-up to this Christmas, "We had a holiday coloring table for children and teens creating folded Christmas trees from recycled paperback books," McVey said.
Martha Deichler, former teacher, school superintendent, and now school-community liaison comments, "Our welcoming library has become a hub for students and families seeking resources, enrichment, classes and even books! It warms my heart to see parents learning English, ballet Folklorico classes, online high school graduation classes, and our little ones checkingout books to take home! Happy One year Birthday, County Library!"
Summer lunches for children and teens, face painting and henna tattoos and designs, both art and Mozart, a film club and free film screenings, Folklorico dance classes, space exploration, chess, Free Spirit the Clown, Internet access, and the list of programs and activities goes on. And all augmented by a dedicated staff and hi-tech, audio-visual and computer-based infrastructure that brings our Library up to a very high standard of excellence.
Features of our new library are as good as they get: The Book Nook for sales; books and videos organized for easy access; a computer room with 12 stations; an open section for building stuff, like robots, and it comes with a 3-D printer that operates like a fancy glue-gun, extruding an extraordinary range of items in fine detail. The park portion is both expansive and detailed. It includes a shaded children's playground area replete with swings and climb-on features; a small amphitheater; a stationary equipment exercise area; basketball and tennis courts; and a dog park that will soon be expanded.
Full article in the Dec. 26 issue of the Borrego Sun.