San Diego Needs You

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over a year since we donated money, time, materials and over 650 books for the Oakland Public Library system.

Our friendly librarian Mary Farrell of the Lakeview branch fills us in with some news:

Library news, is that Measure Q passed and sometime in the next months we will be open more hours. Our book budget should be decent for the next fiscal year and for the next years as long as Measure Q taxes are there. Lakeview area is having major road/sewer work to keep the streets from flooding during the rainy season. There is a cacophony of earth pounding and moving machines deafening our quiet space. It even shakes our building feeling like miniature earth quakes.

Lakeview is having author book signings, poet programs, music programs, yoga programs and art displays going on all the time.

The Tai Chi man who entertained you practically au natural during your talk now does his routine right outside our doors because that middle space between us and the Lake is covered with heavy machinery. I thought of you when I saw that he has moved closer to the library.

And this came in one month ago today from Cheyenne-Gilmore:

Well, I realized there were 646 donations on the list.

I have an obsession with numbers ending in -25, -50, -75 and -00 (I don’t know, I should probably be medicated for that), so I figured, shit, might as well make it fifty. But then I thought…if there’s someone else out there with my issues, they’ll want to get to 650…but then they’ll want to trigger the free shipping and get more books. So then the number will be fucked up again and we’ll just have to keep going until 675. Or maybe I just couldn’t think what else to send and was in a hurry.

Anyway, sent to the childrens’ library because I saw that Chris Van Allsburg’s “Two Bad Ants” was on the list and I nearly burst into tears at the thought of a child not having that book to read. It’s the best book EVER. So…there that went, with another one from their list that is just the most hilarious shit: “How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon?” by Jane Yolen, and one of my favorite books of all-time, as a kid and now, “The Mountains of Tibet” by Mordicai Gerstein. It’s a beautiful story of life, death and reincarnation, and the illustrations are breathtaking. It’s one I hope many kids will take out and read, because I absolutely adored it fifteen years ago, and still do.

Love and stuff,

Because of these two letters, because of Michael Moore‘s opening weekend, and because all of your good thoughts appear to have helped the antibiotics work, I’m proud to kick off this year’s book drive.

This year’s library system:  San Diego County Public Library.

One year ago San Diego County was ravaged by fire. More than 2,400 homes were destroyed. Many people found refuge during that terrible time in their local library. This year the county’s library budget has been drastically cut, and many branches are now closed on Sundays, with more threatening to be closed soon. From the Library Journal:

A proposed FY 05 $37.7 million budget for the San Diego Public Library, tentatively approved City Council, would be $204,642 less than last year, which means the system would close seven library branches on Sundays, cut materials, and reduce hours elsewhere. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the budget for salaries and benefits has increased $2.15 million, so the library will eliminate 20 positions from the budget. One councilman proposed private donations to keep the branches open. The city is trying to balance the budget by cutting $26.9 million in funding for parks, recreation centers, libraries, community centers, police storefronts and a child care program. The council must approve the budget by June 28.

Closing libraries on Sundays means kids won’t have access to the books they so desperately need.

Many of these libraries have tiny wish lists. In a few cases we can send everything they’ve asked for to help their circulation desks.  Many children’s books are quite affordable, and… you know, sometimes you can score free shipping.

I’m quoting from their wish list descriptions when available.

Vista Branch — one of the largest branches of the San Diego County Library system. Because of recent cuts to our book budget, we are happy to provide a way for you to help us keep our collection strong.

Rancho San Diego Branch — The Rancho San Diego Branch is a new public library located in the city of El Cajon. This branch serves a diverse and growing community with many informational and recreational reading needs. The recent budget shortfall prevents us from purchasing as many titles as we would like. We welcome any materials you can donate. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Rancho San Diego Branch Youth Services Division – The Rancho San Diego area is a growing community that is home to many young families. They make good use of their new library and have a wide range of interests and needs. Please help us better serve them by purchasing children’s or young adult materials and donating them to our branch. Thank you for your generosity.

Alpine Branch — In December 1914, the San Diego County Library system opened its 16th branch in the lovely community of Alpine. The library has been at its present location since March 1978. The recent budget shortfall has limited the amount of materials we can purchase. We welcome your contributions to our collection.

Bonita-Sunnyside Branch

Santee Branch

Jacumba Branch

Fletcher Hills Branch – Small neighborhood library serving patrons of all ages. Limited budget. Always in need of donations of books. Especially trying to renew our collection of children’s picture books, chapter books, and our DVD collection.

Vista Branch – The Youth Services Dept of the Vista Branch Library serves Youth from Birth-17 yrs of age. Our collection not only helps kids with their homework, but also helps them become lifelong readers and learners. We welcome your support.

Valley Center Branch (YA) – This list contains items we would love to add to our Young Adult collection. It is difficult enough getting teens to read, but as small of a collection as we have, it makes this task even more difficult.

Valley Center Branch – This list contains adult and juvenile items. Adding these items to our collection will increase our collection’s value in the eyes of our patrons.

Spring Valley Branch

Lakeside Branch – One of San Diego County’s original Western towns, Lakeside is a proud community with a rural atmosphere and a sense of tradition. In May of 1913, the Lakeside branch library was opened and housed in the Lakeside Hall. Today it resides on Lindo Lake Park and serves a diverse community of over 50,000 residents.

Borrego Springs Branch – The Borrego Library is the easternmost San Diego County branch located in the Anza Borrego Desert 80 miles east of San Diego. Because of our remoteness, the residents of Borrego Springs rely on our branch library for their reading and entertainment needs. New books and DVD’s are needed and welcome to increase our small collection to help us better serve our community.

El Cajon Branch

La Mesa Branch

Del Mar Library – Housed in a craftsman-style building constructed in 1914 as St. James Catholic Church, the remodel won a 1997 Orchid Award. James Hubbell’s sculpture ‘A River of Time’ & a mixed-media mosaic wall are on the grounds.

Lemon Grove Library – Help Lemon Grove Library to replenish our shelves during a year of budget cutbacks. Help Lemon Grove Library to replenish our shelves during a year of budget cutbacks. We are a medium sized branch serving a working class multicultural community, with many recent immigrants. Twenty six different languages are commonly spoken in Lemon Grove.

Poway Branch – The new Poway Branch Library has been open since 1998. Built for the San Diego County Library by the City of Poway, the spacious Spanish-influenced building is home to one of the County’s largest collections of audio-visual materials!

Poway Branch Children’s Library – The new Poway Branch Library has been open since 1998. Built for the San Diego County Library by the City of Poway, the spacious Spanish-influenced building is home to one of the County’s largest collections of audio-visual materials!

Ramona Branch – Ramona is a small, library located in the mountains near San Diego, California. We have an enthusiastic and loyal clientale, but a small budget due to recent budget cuts. We would appreciate any gifts.

Campo-Morena Village Branch.- The Campo-Morena Village Branch of the San Diego County Library System is the smallest branch in California. The library is currently 490 sq. ft. and we’re waiting for a new library to be built with completion around October 2005. As we are a rural community that services a community of approximately 6,500, we are in need of books featuring farm animal care and gardening/landscaping materials. Thank you for your interests in our community.


Casa de Oro Branch Library serves a diverse community in the shadow of Mt. Helix in eastern San Diego County. The library is a small neighborhood branch that has served the youth and adults of the community for more than 40 years.

Lincoln Acres Branch Library is unlike any other library you have seen before. Originally an old military barrack, Lincoln Acres first opened to the community on June 18, 1947. Only 800 square feet, this tiny and cozy library is the second smallest in the county. The Lincoln Acres Library has stood the test of time as in the late 90’s the county’s relocation project almost closed the library, but residents fought hard and successfully petitioned to keep it open. In the last 2 years, budget cutbacks have restricted the book budget. In spite of the economic hardships, the library staff has strived to provide adequate resources to its large Spanish speaking community living in an economically disadvantaged area.

Potrero Branch Library has existed since 1915 and recently moved into a new facility in this rural community. Located just miles from the Mexican border, the branch serves a 26 mile area with many bilingual residents. This branch has a small budget but many community needs.

San Marcos Branch Library. San Marcos is home to over 16,000 children and teens under 18 years old. We try to reach each and every one of these young people with books, videos, CDs and recorded books to help meet their homework and leisure reading needs. With your help, we can include items in our collection that we couldn’t afford otherwise. Thanks for helping to create a community of successful readers!

Or you can help the San Diego Public Library Foundation with a monetary donation.

All donations are tax deductible.

I don’t need to remind those of you who were around here last year how awesome the book drive was. I hope you’ll join me again in sending help to another struggling library system. As always, I’ll record your donations and add a link to the site of your choice from my site. Please let me know if you’ve sent monetary support or used books as well.

And this year I’ll throw in a prize. Three donors will receive one signed copy of my book sent to their home. Contest runs until July 25th, one month from today. I’ll have stee draw three names at random from every donor to the San Diego County Public Library System through their wishlists. I’ll post the three winners names here on on July 25th. Good luck!

You are all very good people. Thanks for making one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

Did you contribute? Let me know!

See all donations so far here.

Read all the letters, news and latest stats at the San Diego Public Library Book Drive Blog

Leave a Reply

Comments (