Letter From An El Cajon Librarian

This is so amazing! I’ve been reading your recaps and your website for a few years now, and I was just ordering your book for our library a few weeks ago when I got an email saying that you had chosen US for your book drive this year! I remember thinking what a great idea it was when you did it for Oakland, and I can’t tell you how much we appreciate it here.

Since people seem to like to hear about where their books are going, I thought I would write and tell you about two of the branches that I know best.

I grew up in the town of Julian, which has about 3000 people and is on top of a mountain to the east of San Diego. It is known for its apple pie (since it gets cold enough there to grow apple trees and even gets a little snow) and for its charming gold-rush era buildings–it was a mining town and was almost the county seat before the gold ran out and most people left in the late 1800s. Nowadays most people in the town depend on tourists from “The City” for their income in one way or another–my parents run a summer camp!

Last year during the fires Julian suddenly became famous and it was really strange to see views on national television that were clearly filmed from the parking lot of my high school! Hundreds of people (and that’s a large percentage) lost their houses in the fires but most are rebuilding and still love living in Julian. In fact, they are just finishing work on a brand new library that will be shared by the high school, and is built right where those TV cameras were standing last year. You can see what the new library will look like and the old library (which is in a former one-room schoolhouse) is on our website . Since the new library is many times larger than the old one, they will definitely appreciate new books! (I’ve looked and I don’t think Julian has a wish list yet but I’m sure they will soon.)

Now though, I’m a librarian at the El Cajon branch of the SDCL, and it is about as different from Julian as it is possible to be! El Cajon is one of the largest branches in the system and one of the main reference centers for the county. (Vista is the other.) We answer a lot of the more difficult reference questions from the smaller branches, so we have a much larger collection than most other branches. It is also why we have some very expensive books on our wish list–you wouldn’t believe how much things like encyclopedias cost! So if you have any very wealthy readers, send them our way! (We also have lots of regular books on the list as well–I just wanted to explain why we have these ones that cost over $100 as well.)

The El Cajon branch is located in the downtown of a suburb east of San Diego, so we serve a very varied population. I especially enjoy working here because you never know what (or who) will turn up next. There is rarely a dull moment, and we like it that way.

So, thanks again for helping us, and double thanks to everyone who is sending books–you have no idea how wonderful it is to know that there are people all over the world thinking of us and sending us presents!

Also, everyone, don’t forget about your local libraries! Call up the librarians and ask a weird question–we like that.

Jenne Bergstrom
Reference and Young Adult Librarian
San Diego County Library, El Cajon Branch
(619) 588-3703

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