By Karen E. Reilly
The Mission Valley Branch Library is in the thick of our annual Summer Reading Program, offered through Aug. 1, 2018. I hope that you have had a chance to sign up, either by stopping in to see us, or by going online at sandiego.gov/summerreading. This all-ages program rewards participants with a free tote bag, coupons and a book of your choice. The Summer Reading Program challenges pre-readers and kids under 12 to complete 10 books, and teens and adults to log 10 hours of reading, to claim their prizes. Prizes for completing the program will be available starting July 1, and will be available while supplies last. There are special events for kids at the Mission Valley Branch Library each Thursday at 10:30 a.m., in the Community Room.
While much of our kids’ programming is for neurotypical children, we are proud to also host a quarterly program for families with children on the autism spectrum. Sensory Sunday takes place every few months on a Sunday starting at 11 a.m., before the library opens to the public at 12:30 p.m.
We realize that the library’s bright lights and unpredictable environment can be disturbing to those with sensory processing differences, and children on the spectrum can be noisy and unpredictable in a place where people are usually expected to be quiet. We wanted to host an event where families would feel welcome to use our resources in a comfortable and non-judgmental setting. At every Sensory Sunday, we start the day with a fun and educational performance, then encourage families to explore the library, check out books and movies, lounge outside on our sunny Children’s Patio, or play with the toys we’ve provided. We partner with Autism Society San Diego, which advises us on best practices. Past events have included a magic and bubble show, a hands-on look at tide pool creatures, a Lego program, and a puppetry show. Stay tuned: we aim to have our next Sensory Sunday program in September!
A year ago, the Mission Valley Branch Library discontinued its weekly zumba and yoga classes. This decision came after a thorough review of programming, which determined that the library was using a disproportionate amount of its budget on programs that were more in line with the city’s Park & Recreation Department’s mission, “A healthy and fit San Diego.” However, we also realized that there isn’t a nearby rec center, and that many in our community had difficulty accessing Park & Recreation classes.
To resolve this issue, the Mission Valley Branch Library has enlisted the help of the San Diego Community College District’s Continuing Education program and our former zumba and yoga teacher Carol Phillips to bring exercise programs to Mission Valley. We now offer a class similar to zumba called “Lifetime Fitness” on Mondays from 3:30–5 p.m., and a class similar to yoga called “Stretch and Balance” on Thursdays from 1:30–3 p.m. Both classes are held in the Community Room and are free to participants. You can join at any time and are not required to register in advance. We feel this is a great example of how the library can work with other organizations to maximize our budget and bring patrons the services they are asking for. I hope to see you reading — or exercising — at our library this summer.
— Karen Reilly is managing librarian for the Mission Valley Branch Library. Reach her at KReilly@sandiego.gov.