Love for Literature
Prior to the Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library’s opening, Ranch residents were treated to new reading material only twice per month when the community was visited by the County Bookmobile. Recognizing a need for permanent literary services, the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild came together to establish the library. Since its founding the library branch has provided a variety of programs, speakers, events, and of course, an impressive collection of books and other media for readers of all ages. Today visitors can feel welcomed by the helpful staff, utilize the library’s up-to-date technology, and even enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the newly renovated outdoor patio. Join us as we chat with Assistant Branch Manager Haley Kwon about how the library has fostered a love of imagination and learning in the community for just shy of half a century.
Q&A with Haley Kwon, Assistant Branch Manager
Please tell us about the history behind the Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library.
The Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library opened its doors in 1966 at the current site on Avenida de Acacias. The library was built by the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild, a group of founding members who decided that a local library was needed to replace the County Bookmobile, which at the time visited the Ranch twice per month. Our library was designed to feel like one of the ranch-style homes typical to the surrounding area. Later additions included the Howard Glasgow Children’s Wing, which also houses the RSF Book Cellar, our resale bookstore.
What is your current role at the library? What do you enjoy most about this position?
I currently serve as the Assistant Branch Manager of the library. I most enjoy the creativity and freedom to create inspiring programs for adults and cooking with the school aged children after school at 3:15 p.m.
How has the library evolved over time?
The function of the library has become more pluralistic. It’s no longer simply about the printed word and bounded book. Libraries engage in the stories of our times through relevant programs for all ages. The brick and mortar is a mere portal to the complex and changing world.
What sets the Rancho Santa Fe Library apart from other San Diego public libraries?
The central location of the Rancho Santa Fe library in our small town is just one of the things that makes it unique. The intimate size and architecture of its space has invited high-quality, personal, and customized customer service to all patrons of this library. Materials can be special requested by staff. This is one place where you will be known by name.
Please tell us about the types of programs and services you offer. Are there any specific programs or classes for children, teens, or adults?
We showcase programs for all ages. Children’s storytimes and crafts for infants through preschool age, penmanship class, Tuesday afterschool Teen Kitchen Hack, and special entertainers throughout the year. Adult programs cover topics such as integrative health, financial health, lectures sponsored by the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, lectures by local authors, cooking demonstrations with generous samples, and our monthly Adult Book Club and Adult Craft Club. For more library programs visit www.sdcl.org.
Does the library offer any services that the community might not be aware but would greatly benefit from?
The library offers free cultural enrichment for the whole family. Services and talents are featured for this local community’s residents and families. Our library is both brick and digital. The access to information and ideas on multiple formats – audial, printed, or digital – is available to the public in customized ways unimaginable to past generations. And through the Vista Library the County offers the Books by Mail service – for those who are house-bound – where library materials can be selected by the librarians and sent to patrons by postal mail to their homes.
Can you describe any recent technological advancements that the library features?
The County libraries have installed radio frequency identification (RFID) and check-out machines modeled for self-service. There are more laptop computers and Chrome laptops available for people to use above and beyond the eight internet computer stations inside our branch library. The County’s broadband and Wi-Fi capacity has been expanded to accommodate the needs for greater public ether access.
How is the library funded?
Major funding is provided by the County through property taxes, as well as grants awarded by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, and donations from local foundations to the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild. Support from Guild memberships, events, and legacy donations, as well as the proceeds from The Book Cellar sales are essential to the operations of the library now and in the years to come. The Guild has recently created their 50th Anniversary Endowment to provide future sustainability for the RSF Branch Library. The Library Guild is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Please tell us about your staff and what they help to bring to the library.
We bring the heart of our days to the library and build meaningful relationships through service over the years.
What does the library’s collection consist of?
The physical browsing collection includes books of fiction and non-fiction, feature film and documentary DVDs, books on CDs and audio cassettes, databases for homework help, investments and newspapers, foreign language acquisition, publicly free internet computers which allow one to print documents, Chrome laptops for internet surfing, major newspapers, weekly and monthly periodicals, and collected oversized art books. All materials are available to you by getting a free library card.
Is the library in need of volunteers? How can one go about volunteering or finding out about volunteer work?
This library would love to partner with and mentor volunteers who can contribute their talents and time. There is a standard application for completion and clearance through the County of San Diego before a schedule is offered.
How does the library stay connected to the community?
The media outlets are wonderful partners. The local businesses and groups that contribute resources and funds also provide valuable information about the changes happening in our community. The library and the Library Guild have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. The Library Guild also connects through their quarterly newsletters and weekly Constant Contacts.
If you could grant the library one wish, what would it be?
Financial support for the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild who partners with the County of San Diego in its tireless efforts to raise funds, awareness, and the value of the library to the Rancho Santa Fe community. In our culture the transmission of knowledge is still primarily through reading.
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like to share with our readers?
The Guild will be holding its fall fundraiser, Lunch with Jojo Moyes, on Oct. 7 at the RSF Golf Club. Bestselling author Jojo Moyes will be presenting her new book After You. Please visit the Guild’s website www.rsflibraryguild.org for more information and a full view of both children and adult programs on www.sdcl.org.
What has been the most rewarding part about working with the library?
The opportunities to work with and create a salon and sanctuary in the local community. Our programs are brought into the community through amazing and talented partnerships. Staff introduces creatives, professionals, and intellectuals who enrich the quality of our lives through the engagement of literature, knowledge, and community.
At-A-Glance | Assistant Branch Manager
Name: H. ‘Haley’ Kwon
Community: Rancho Santa Fe
Education: B.A. in comparative literature – Mills College and San Diego State University
Interests: Hospitality and wisdom
Favorite Library Programs: Teen Kitchen Hack and After School Healthy Cooking Program
At-A-Glance | Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library
Meet the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild
What is the mission of the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild?
The mission of the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild is to raise funds and provide essential services and resources beyond the budget of the San Diego County Library. Funds raised by the Guild enhance the library by offering materials, staff, and programs for library patrons of all ages. Our vision is to sustain the library so that our community continues to benefit from this valuable resource for future generations.
How does the Guild work with the library?
The San Diego County provides staffing of the library and partners with the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild, who pays for the staffing in the Children’s department. The Library Guild owns and maintains the library building. The Library Guild and the county share in the responsibility of providing programs, and the purchase and supplementation of the browsing collection of book, digital, and media materials within Children’s and Adult Services.
How does one go about joining the Guild?
Payment of the annual membership fee is the only requirement for membership. Annual individual memberships begin at $50; family memberships, $100; benefactors, $500. Lifetime memberships are offered for a one-time fee of $1,000. Payments are accepted in the branch at the Library Guild office or online at www.rsflibraryguild.org.
At-A-Glance | Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild