[heading]photos by Soul of Photography[/heading]

Located five blocks from the ocean, the Encinitas Branch Library is situated on a hill, with an outdoor reading deck that spans the west side of the building, providing customers and staff with a breathtaking view of the Pacific. It is one of the busiest branches in the San Diego County Library system, with over 33.7 million books, movies and music to offer its patrons. Families flock to the branch for free entertainment and educational opportunities. Weekly toddler storytimes see attendance of upwards of 100 people, and the various youth book clubs offer kids and teens a chance to embrace a love of reading while making new friends. Visitors, from babies to the young at heart, are clearly taking advantage of the programs and services that the library has to offer. The Encinitas Branch Library has become an icon in the community, since it’s opening on Cornish Drive in 2008. It has become the perfect place to enjoy good books, fun events and the serenity of the ocean.









How did the library facility in Encinitas come to be? What is its history?  

The Encinitas Branch Library, 540 Cornish Drive, is located in the western section of Encinitas, about five blocks from the Pacific Ocean and about 25 miles from downtown San Diego. In response to a petition by community residents, the Encinitas Branch Library of San Diego County was established on Oct. 13, 1914. The branch has occupied several locations, including one on “E” Street around the late 1940s. In 1966, the Encinitas Branch Library opened in a 4,100 square foot Cornish Drive facility. In 1980, the Friends of the Encinitas Library was founded. The Friends have played a vital role in raising money for the branch and advocating the need for a larger facility. During fiscal year 2000-2001, the Encinitas City Council approved the construction of a new library at its current site. Design of a new library was initiated in January 2002, with the retention of Manuel Oncina Architects, Inc. The old Encinitas Branch was demolished in 2004 to make room for a new state-of-the-art library facility built by the City of Encinitas. Construction began in March 2006 after a citizen’s initiative to move the location east of I-5 failed.


On Feb. 23, 2008, the $20,000,000, 27,798 square foot library was opened to the public, with over 5,000 eager citizens attending the Grand Opening festivities. The new facility includes a 2,000 square foot Community Room, a 537 square foot Special Collections Room, an Information Literacy Lab with 15 computer workstations for group instruction and three group study rooms. A reading deck runs the entire length of the west side of the building, achieving indoor and outdoor integration to take advantage of the coastal location and views. The building now includes a Friends of the Library bookstore at the entrance as well as facilities for a coffee cart in the entryway. Civic art galleries are part of the library design and the local art community is an integral part of the library’s cultural profile.

Describe the biggest changes in the library today compared to when it first opened?

The largest change has been the addition of an automated self-check system, or RFID. It uses small radio frequency tags on each library item to automatically check the item out to the customer after scanning their library card at the self-check machines. The RFID system increases efficiency of library operations by increasing the ability of library customers to check out items themselves.

Please give us information on the San Diego County Library system and how the Encinitas Branch compares to other branches?

  • In fiscal year 2010-2011, San Diego County Library:
  • Has 33 branches and two bookmobiles
  • Circulated over 12.4 million books, CDs, DVD’s and other material formats
  • Recorded 5.8 million visits to library branches
  • Hosted 22,435 library programs

The Encinitas Branch people visit count for fiscal year 2013 so far (July 2012-March 2013) has been 281,767 – which makes us #1 in the county. Year to date circulation total is 526,172 making us #4 in circulated items. El Cajon is 30,166 sq.ft, Vista is 30,394 sq.ft – making Encinitas the 3rd largest in square footage. We hosted 974 programs with 30,691 patrons attending, second only to El Cajon with 2,076 programs with 57,575 attending.

What specific areas does the Encinitas Branch serve?  

The Encinitas Branch serves Leucadia, Olivenhain, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Encinitas although it is open to all who enter.

How does the branch measure patronage?  

What is the branch’s measurement of the following areas (YTD):

Circulation: 526,172

Visits: 281,767

Internet Signups: WiFi – 30,729; Internet – 40,077

Program Attendance: 974 programs with 30,691 attending

Can you describe some the technological advancements the library has experienced?

The biggest technological advancement for us has been the addition of an automated self-check system, RFID.

How large is the library’s collection?

33.7 million books, movies, and music.

Can you tell us about the various programs and additional services offered at the library?  All of the programming is free to the public and must follow our general library mission – inform, educate, inspire and entertain. The five areas of programming we concentrate on to fulfill that mission are sanctuary, safety, health, prosperity and education. We listen to, and take recommendations from the public and try to offer the programming they most want.

How is the library funded? 

We are supported by San Diego County and the Friends of the Encinitas Library.

Does the library need volunteers? If so, how does one get involved?  

The library is always excited to add volunteers. At any given time we have around 40-50 adult volunteers and 40-50 “service learners” which are the under-18 volunteers. Fiscal year 2011-2012 SDCL had 119,079 hours of volunteer service from 5,504 volunteers. 1,947 teens volunteered 35, 971 hours as service learners. Total value of this amazing group resulted in $3,091,170.zzt.f.-0577

What service does the library provide the community that most residents don’t know about? 

Although it’s hard to choose just one, the most unique service we provide are free fitness classes; such as Zumba and several different types of yoga for all ages.

How does a local resident get a library card? 

To get a library card one only has to go to our website (www.sdcl.org) and click on get a library account. Then, the next time you’re in your favorite branch, bring a picture ID with a current address and we will give you your brand new card.

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Name: Amy Geddes

Title/Position: Branch Manager/Librarian III

Years with San Diego Library: 5

Years at Encinitas Branch Library: 3

Education: BA in Speech Communications from Texas A&M University; Masters in Library and Information Science at the University of North Texas

Previous professional positions: Bonita Branch Manager (SDCL), Tonopah Public Library Branch Manager (Tonopah, NV), Co-Manager Walmart Stores Inc.
















What is your role as the Youth Services Librarian?  

My role is to create a fun and welcoming library experience for kids, tweens, teens and families!

What do you have planned for the Summer Reading Club? 

Wild animal ambassadors, puppets, magic, carnival games, science, crafts and more, all wrapped around the theme of “Reading Is SOOOO Delicious!” I’m also excited about our 4th Annual Japan Festival on Aug. 3 which celebrates the Sister City relationship between Encinitas and Amakusa, Japan.t.f.-0566

How many kids do you anticipate participating in the program this summer? Adults? 

The Summer Reading Club is a popular activity that attracts hundreds of families every year.

What is the most rewarding part about working with the children at the library? 

Being present with them and appreciating the creativity, joy and openness with which they embrace life. They inspire me every single day.

If you could grant the youth program one wish, what would that be?  

The Encinitas Branch is fortunate to have a generous, visionary and extremely capable Friends group who understands the importance of supporting programming for young people and families. We’re also lucky to have a vibrant, caring, creative community in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Anything else is icing on the cake … but in my wildest dreams I would love to be able to recreate the library as a destination as magical and memorable as Disneyland!

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Name: Patricia Williams

Title/Position: Librarian II – Youth Services

Years with San Diego Library: 8

Years at Encinitas Branch Library: 5

Education: San Jose State University: Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities, Minor in Japanese; Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science

Previous professional positions: Children’s Librarian at Los Altos Library (Santa Clara County Library District), International Flight Attendant (American Airlines)
















What is your role as the President of the Friends of the Encinitas Library? How did you become involved with the group?

My husband and I retired and moved to town almost eight years ago. We are both avid readers and we were so disappointed to walk up the hill to the Encinitas Branch and find an empty lot! Thankfully, construction on the new building began a year or so later. We really appreciate having the materials of the entire San Diego library system available to us – we can request books or DVDs online and they arrive at our branch. And when we are interested in more esoteric titles, we can use LINK+ which makes available the resources of about 50 other libraries in various cities and universities in the Western U.S.

I started volunteering in the Friends Bookstore when the new library opened in 2005, was asked to join the board several years later and became president of the board in January 2012. A year into the role, I am still learning about how the library and the board operate, but have a lot of help from Branch Librarian, Amy Geddes and the Board President, Anne Omsted. Besides running the monthly and annual meetings, I am learning how to write grants for special library needs and finding out more about Planned Giving to help us grow our Friends of the Encinitas Library Endowment. As a board member, I work on our newsletters and website, help at library events, volunteer in the Bookstore and shelve books in the library whenever possible.

What is the mission of the Friends group?

To support the Encinitas Library as it strives to encourage literacy, lifelong learning and the love of reading throughout our diverse community. Through fundraising, we seek to enhance the library’s resources, increase the community’s access to information and provide a vibrant cultural gathering place. We operate the Friends Bookstore, taking donations of books, DVDs, CDs and audio books to sell to support the purchase of library materials and to fund programs and events for adults, children and families. We work with the library staff to determine and meet the changing needs of our Encinitas community.

We also look for opportunities to promote literacy in our community. For example, with input from our librarians, we have purchased dozens of quality children’s books for the two Encinitas Head Start programs.zzzzz

Right now, the Friends are starting a major fundraising campaign to get an Automated Sorter/Handling Machine for our branch. The SDCL has self-check out at all the branches now, but each item – over 66,000 each month here at Encinitas – have to be checked in by hand. With a sorter, check-in will be much faster so that items can get back onto the shelves and be available for other patrons, and our library staff will be free to do their most important job – assisting the community in finding resources, leading educational activities and providing instruction in a variety of activities from job applications and career searches to computer usage.

How many members are in the group and how long has the group been active?

The Encinitas Branch has been operating on the current site since 1959, with the Friends of the Encinitas Library starting in 1980. The small, old library was torn down in 2004 and the Friends worked to raise funds for the new library building, but otherwise took a little hiatus. In the five years since the new award-winning building was opened, the Friends has become fully active again and currently boasts 296 members. There are 13 members on our board. We would like to add a person with a CPA background to the board to assist our treasurer and finance committee.

How does one become a member of the Friends group? When and where do you meet?

Anyone is welcome to join the Friends of the Encinitas Library. Memberships starts at $10 for seniors, $15 for individuals and $25 for families. The Board meets the 4th Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the library. About 65 members volunteer in our Friends Bookstore.

Do you have any upcoming events readers should be aware of?

The Encinitas Branch has about 100 classes and activities each month, many supported by the Friends. In addition, the Friends hosts a 2 p.m. music program on the first Sunday of each month, the Japan Festival in July and the Book Festival in October. We have a very creative and hard working staff, and throughout the year we strive to support their special projects, like furniture for a new teen area or special events, like the 3rd Annual Storytellers Festival that occured in April.

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Official name of Library: Encinitas Branch Library

Address: 540 Cornish Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024

Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.

Date opened: Feb. 23, 2008

Phone: 760-753-7376

Website: www.sdcl.org

Size of facility: 27,798 square feet

Number of books: 56,894 on average

Staff size: 11 full-time staff and two part-time staff

Circulation: Average circulation per month is 67,000 items

Key Personnel: Amy Geddes, Branch Manager; Honey Madsen, Assistant Branch Manager; Patricia Williams, Youth Services Librarian

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Stacey Goldblatt

Community: Olivenhain

Website: www.staceygoldblatt.com, www.poetryplunge.com

Genre of Literature: Young Adult Fiction

Spotlight Book: Girl to the Core


Janet Eoff Berend

Community: Encinitas

Website: www.janetberend.com

Genre of Literature: Young Adult

Spotlight Book: Vertical

*Book Signing at the Encinitas Barnes & Noble on May 3 from 3 – 6 p.m.


Edith Hope Fine

Community: Village Park

Websites: www.edithfine.com, www.cryptokids.com, www.bluetarpschool.com, www.grammarpatrol.com

Genre of literature: Children’s

Spotlight Book: Water, Weed, and Wait


Judith Pinkerton Josephson

Community: Encinitas

Websites: www.judithjosephson.com, www.bluetarpschool.com, www.grammarpatrol.com

Genre of Literature: Children’s

Spotlight Book: Armando and the Blue Tarp School

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May 2   |   6 – 7:30 p.m.

Posture Alignment Class

Are you suffering from chronic back, neck or wrist pain? Do you sit at a computer for most or part of the day?  Have you tried chiropractic care and massage therapy, but only to get temporary relief and you end up at square one?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be interested in booking an educational Posture Workshop with Maryann Berry.


May 5   |   2 – 3 p.m.

Friends of the Encinitas Library First Sunday Music Series: Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet

Robin Adler’s beautiful vocals and the band will be celebrating the songs of Joni Mitchell.


May 8   |   6 p.m.

Acoustic Showcase: Old Town Road

Old Town Road is a five piece bluegrass band led by Steve Toth which also includes Becky Green, Dan Sankey, Given Harrison and David Collins.


May 9   |   6 – 7:30 p.m.

Going to Extremes: Dr. Jessie Stone Tackles Malaria and Whitewater in Africa

Learn the inspiring story of Jessie Stone, an extreme kayaker and medical doctor, who took a bite out of malaria numbers in Uganda by starting a clinic there and providing low-cost mosquito nets to families.


May 15   |   6:30 p.m.

Introduction to Meditation

Got stress? Need more peace? This class is sure to help! Gain fundamental knowledge about meditation and stress management and practice a guided meditation.


May 18   |   10 a.m.

Home Clinic

Attend educational sessions and speak to a lawyer, housing, or mortgage counselor on foreclosure, bankruptcy and how to keep your home. There is no charge to speak to these professionals.

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