Updates on summer programs, events

Off the Shelf

By CHARISSA WAGNER, Ridgecrest Branch Library

Summer is in full force, and the high temperatures outside brought many people inside to experience all that we had to offer. As usual, this summer we offered at least one activity every day that we are open, even if it is “just” a scavenger hunt or our popular “I Spy” display case. Most activities are for children, but we offer some activities for teens and adults (crafts and workshops) and continue to do so throughout the year on a smaller scale. We had some amazing visitors that packed our little library thanks to the Friends of the Kern County Library and the Friends of the Ridgecrest Branch Library. We also had visits from the Ridgecrest Police Department’s K-9 and Traffic units and the Kern County Fire Department.

Because of the incredibly busy June and July, we are having a very low-key August to recover from that busy time, and Story Time is on hiatus until September (when it will be on Fridays at 9:30 a.m.). We will continue Fun Fridays at 3:30 p.m., featuring activities which range from puzzles to a themed party.

The Summer Reading Challenge theme was “Reading Takes You Everywhere!” and we continue to offer a program that allows all ages to participate from babies through adults by allowing participants to be read to. This means audiobooks for all ages count as book “reads.” This summer we had 483 finishers — 99 adults read or listened to 1,245 books, 77 tweens and teens read or listened to 1,354 hours, 202 children read or listened to 3,206 books, and 106 early learners read or listened to 1,940 books. What an amazing accomplishment! The outreach location at Inyokern Elementary School continued with 37 finishers (6 adults reading or listening to 90 books, 7 tweens and teens reading or listening to 130 hours, 18 children reading or listening to 350 books, and 6 early learners reading or listening to 110 books). Because of the incredible generosity of our community, we awarded 413 prizes to our finishers and bonus finishers! We hope you join us next summer as we strive to have our community read more than this summer.

This summer marked the debut of Lunch at the Library, a partnership with the Sierra Sands Unified School District, which offered free lunch to anyone 18 and younger four days a week for six weeks. Meals followed the USDA standards and offered a variety of choices. We were fortunate to have an amazing group of volunteers who ensured that Lunch at the Library ran smoothly. I am incredibly proud to report that 1,244 meals were served to children — an average of 54 per day! We look forward to offering the lunch next summer and will incorporate some new features based on seeing how this summer’s program went.

In 2015 the Peck Family Foundation made it possible for us to replace all of the shelving for our Juvenile Fiction books. We’ve asked the foundation to consider helping us replace existing shelving for our Juvenile Fiction uncataloged paperbacks and Young Adult uncataloged paperbacks/Young Adult new book display along with some tables in our Community Room. As you may (or may not) know, we have only one Community Room, which is truly a multipurpose room. It is used for Baby Bounce and Story Time, crafts, games, yo-yo tricks, book discussion, movies, workshops, the Friends of the Ridgecrest Branch Library’s ongoing used book sales, and the list goes on. We want to add flip-top tables to help us easily reconfigure the room as needed.

The Friends of the Ridgecrest Branch Library are an amazing, hardworking group of volunteers who bring in funds to directly benefit your public library. We are so grateful to them! Through funding from the Friends, we were able to acquire more graphic novels for kids and teens along with easy readers for our collection in anticipation of the busy summer. We provided Summer Reading Challenge finisher bags for all finishers and some of the prizes.

With help from our Friends, we’ve added some great things to our branch — a changing table in one restroom (ADA compliance issues prevented installation of a second changing table), a flat screen TV for digital events scrolling and in the main reading area new flip-top tables, which have made setup for big performances so much easier. We are looking to make more changes and updates still in 2018.

Libraries of today are so much more than a building with books in it. Stay tuned to see what else we have in store for you! Just this week, our public-access computers, monitors, keyboards, and mice were replaced with newer (and faster) ones! The Ridgecrest Branch Library has a Facebook page, so feel free to “like” our page to remain updated with what is going on at your public library.

Story First Published: 2018-08-17