Ridgecrest branch library adds makers space for public use

Ridgecrest branch library adds makers space for public useBy LAURA QUEZADA

Staff Writer The News Review

If you are looking for the silver-lining from the pandemic, there is some good news from the Ridgecrest Branch Library. According to Charissa Wagner, Library Associate, “While the pandemic did have us close for quite a while, it was nice because it gave us the opportunity to get things done that would have been more challenging when people were in the building.”

Not only was the library able to reconfigure the floor plan they were also able to make an addition to services. “We have the addition of a Makers Space which has a couple of different elements to it. “ There is a Creating Space which has a sewing machine, a vinyl cutter, an AV Space that will have pod casting equipment as well as a camera and green screen for audio visual type projects, a Tech Space with STEM related activities, and 3-D printers that will be available for the public to schedule. “We are looking forward to being able to provide that to the community once things open up.

That project was able to move forward mostly because of the closure helping us get that scheduling done.”

The library was closed from mid-March to mid-June, 2020. Nobody was allowed in the building, not even the staff. During this time library staff focused on providing virtual experiences. However, with their partial opening in mid-June they began to offer Curbside Service and since October they allow Express Access inside the building.

The Grab Bag feature of Curbside Service is very popular. Merely inform the library of your reading preferences and library staff will put together a selection of books that you may enjoy. They don’t keep track of books already read, but readers can look forward to an interesting selection.

This is quite popular with families who tell Wagner, “It has been a blessing for a lot of people, it has helped them with the boredom of having to stay home a lot, having access to books.” She adds, “Older people also enjoy the grab bags. Some people have found books that they wouldn’t have chosen on their own, but they have enjoyed.” Curbside Service is available during the library’s open hours, Monday -Thursday from 12pm to 6pm.

Express Access is available by appointment. “We are letting people come in at the top of the hour between 12 and 5. We allow them to come in for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes we use that time to clean and get ready for the next group to come in. We limit the number of people that can come in at that time.”

There are a few ways to request these services. Call 760-384-5870 Monday-Thursday between 12 and 6, the phone number does not have the capacity to take messages. Online appointment forms are on the main page of their website: https://www.kerncountylibrary.org/ The library prefers that Curbside requests be placed two hours in advance or for two hours after the library opens.

The library also supports creativity. Last summer they partnered with Sierra Sands School District to distribute lunches. At the same time they would give the children a carry out craft. “Every week we had an activity bag with four or five things for children, so people could come by, pick up their lunch, pick up their books, and their craft bag. We did an average of 60 bags per week.”

Right now the library is in a trial period with Creative Bug, an online resource for crafting classes. “It is free through the library, if you have a library card. Creative Access started mid February. It is free to the public, but the library does pay for it. If it is of interest to people we will continue it.”

Pictured: Charissa Wagner, Library Associate, adjusts a sewing machine, one of the pieces of equipment featured in the new Ridgecrest Branch Library Makers Space. - Photo By Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2021-04-02