News June 22, 2022

20 library resources to spark creativity

The Library Foundation SD supports library work to help San Diegans learn new skills, pursue lifelong ambitions, and express their creativity. With the help of generous supporters, the Library Foundation is proud to sponsor and promote these programs that make San Diegan more engaged, aware, and able to express their creative sides. Below are 20 free library programs to help spark your creativity.

1. IDEA Labs throughout the library system

IDEA Labs ( Innovate | Discover | Experience | Achieve) are maker spaces at the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common and six branch locations (with more on the way). Each has its theme tailored to the community’s interests (i.e., the lab in San Ysidro focuses on textiles). The Library Foundation has been involved in funding many of the labs.

2. Miniature Books Collection
The Central Library’s Hervey Family Rare Books Room is home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of miniature books. Thanks to the generosity of the Miller family, the collection has grown to include more than 500 books, some of which need a magnifying glass to read the text.

3. The Summer Reading Program

Has been helping San Diego youth fight the summer slide” since 1915 and return to school better prepared to learn. Students can earn incentives and prizes for achieving reading goals. The program starts June 1, runs through August 31, and includes Summer Reading programs at every library location.

This summer, the library invites readers of all ages to venture beyond the beaten path and read.

4. Opera Insights Series and the Vere Wolf lecture archive
The Opera Insight Series is a series of free lectures for the public by opera scholars with educational and entertaining presentations focusing on productions in the upcoming San Diego Opera season. The San Diego Public Library’s first music librarian, Vere Wolf, started the series in the 1950s. Some of his lectures have been digitized and are now available online.

5. How-To Festival

A yearly festival where San Diegans teach each other about something they are passionate about (like how to quilt, make kombucha, speak simple Japanese, etc.). The seventh annual version was on May 14 and you can watch the how-to presentations online.

Library NExT
Library NExT is a series of workshops for elementary, middle, and high school students intended to provide high-quality and hands-on Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) education for students who may not have access to these resources. Classes in circuits, Python programming language, virology, and 55 other STEAM subjects are taught by instructors with UCSD’s Sally Ride Science. Free SAT/ACT test preparation and free business classes for high schoolers also are part of the program. The Library Foundation provided funding to launch the program and continues its support.

Art exhibits throughout the library system
The library’s Art Gallery on the ninth floor of the Central Library features rotating exhibits and local artists. The library also has exhibits at branch locations. Both the Central Library and branch locations are the primary exhibition space for the city’s art collection. More here.

8. Micro Business Center

To support small-business success, the library is developing a new, permanent coworking space that will support the entrepreneurial community. The MicroBusiness Center will offer personalized business coaching appointments, legal-focused entrepreneur classes, intellectual property training sessions, and an entrepreneur-in-residence program in partnership with the library’s IDEA Labs (high-tech maker spaces that offer access to 3D printers, design, and music production software, and other creative technology). Located at the Central Library, the Center will give budding entrepreneurs and small business owners training and resources that strengthen their ability to start a business and achieve both personal dreams and financial success. The Library Foundation is helping fund the Center.

9. Local Author Showcase

In its 56th year, the Local Author Showcase highlights writers’ intellectual and creative accomplishments in the San Diego region. Qualified books are displayed in the Dickinson Popular Library at the Central Library. The program is presented for reading interest as well as the opportunity to highlight the diverse and abundant talent we have locally.

Family Career Exploration Day
A partnership between the library and Workforce Partnership, the Library Foundation is proud to support this program that helps families explore a career change and how to make that happen.

11. Central Library Concert Series and music performances at branches

The Central Library Concert series has been a San Diego Public Library signature program since 1955 and features local, national, and international chamber musicians in free concerts at the Central Library’s Neil Morgan Auditorium . Concerts often include San Diego Symphony musicians. There is an archive of recent concerts and some from the 2000s here.

12. Kanopy movies

The streaming service Kanopy is available to library cardholders. With support from the Library Foundation, patrons can enjoy for free a catalog of critically-acclaimed movies, inspiring documentaries, award-winning foreign films, and hard-to-find titles.

13. Teen Media Classes and Internships

In partnership with Media Arts Center, the library is helping teens master new media tools and channels to develop job skills and also express themselves. Participating teens use the City Heights/​Weingart Library and Performance Annex in month-long sessions to learn audio and film production. Upon completion, teens earn a stipend and paid internships with the City of San Diego. The Library Foundation has supported upgrades to the Performance Annex and spaces where these classes are taught.

Teens are learning to express themselves through audio and video while learning marketable skills and qualifying for paid internships.

14. Discover & Go museum passes at the library
Free family day passes to several of San Diego’s biggest attractions, including the New Children’s Museum, Museum of Us, The San Diego Museum of Art, Children’s Discovery Museum, and Skateworld. Passes can be reserved online, in-person, or over the phone with a valid library card.

15. Guitar and music lessons at the library

Jammin’ @ the Library offers free beginning classes for those aged 12 and up. The group meets Mondays from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Central Library. If you don’t have a guitar, you can use your library card to check one out for the classes. This summer, the library is also offering free hip-hop dance lessons as part of the Summer Reading Program. The Logan Heights Library collaborates with Villa Música to present guitar, violin, and mariachi classes for all ages.

16. Launchpad at the Library

Launchpad is a library Shark Tank-like program for teens. The 4‑day course is designed for teens excited to learn about starting their own businesses. Through lectures from UC San Diego faculty, teamwork, exercises, and discussions with founders of startups, teens learn how to: come up with viable business ideas, understand the marketing mix and choose their target customers, and develop their positioning and entrepreneurial strategy. The program culminates with a team pitch to expert judges from our startup community.

17. Comic-Con and Comics

In celebration of San Diego’s annual focus on comics and pop culture, the library hosts a series of programs highlighting the role of comics in promoting education and literacy. Some of these events are for local and visiting educators and librarians. The library and Library Shop also host a booth at Comic-Con to promote library resources. You can also find a large collection of comics, graphic novels, and manga at the library.

Find Odi @ SDPL
Odi is the new San Diego Public Library mascot based on the book Odi’s Day at the Library, about a coyote who receives their first library card, enjoys storytime, and uses library resources to build a kite! Odi participated in My 1st Library Card (a campaign to encourage parents to get their children library cards). The Library Foundation supported the purchase of Odi’s Day at the Library for use in library programs. And, this year the Library Shop’s most popular scavenger hunt program is back with an Odi twist! In July, a cut-out of Odi the Coyote is well hidden somewhere inside all 36 libraries. See how many you can find and earn custom branch-specific buttons and other prizes.

Odi the Coyote is helping youngsters discover the library, reading, and their own creativity.

19. Free mobile Wi-Fi hotspots
The library and Library Foundation participate in SD Access 4 All, a program to expand digital access and resources to the community through free Wi-Fi and internet access as well as laptop use at select libraries. Patrons with a library card can also secure a mobile hotspot to connect their laptop, tablet, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices to the internet.

Listener’s Advisory podcast
The library’s podcast connects users with San Diego Public Library services, facilities, and staff. Enjoy a mixture of narrative-driven segments, in-depth interviews, and roundtable discussions about everything from professional recommendations to community-centric matters. Also includes the Books for Good Trouble podcast series, which features provocative literature and connected stories of individuals, authors, and activists alike. The Library Foundation supports Listener’s Advisory, and Scott Ehrig-Burgess at the Shop helped launch this effort.