Joan Reese describes the history of the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library while in the courtyard. (photo by John Gregory)
Even though the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library opened in March 1993 (25 years ago), it still looks good and has retained its unique atmosphere.
Thanks to library architect Richard Bundy, the structure has an abundance of nooks and angles that keep it appealing. With an assortment of stained glass creations by artist Richard Spaulding and a few dignified remnants of the old Scripps ranchhouse melded into the interior, the place has some rather fascinating character.
According to Joan Reese, Scripps Ranch Friends of the Library (SRFOL) publicity chair and a past president, the library was built with several “firsts” for a city branch library in San Diego. It has the first permanent public art works in a San Diego branch library, the stained glass. It has the first computer lab in a city library, she said. It has the first large community room. It’s the first city branch library to have a permanent used book store, Grace’s Book Nook.
In addition, the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library has the largest and nicest community room of all branch libraries in San Diego.
Reese emphasized that when the library was being planned, members of the SRFOL and the Scripps Ranch Civic Association began fundraising efforts to add a few extras to the new library. The community fundraising helped ensure the new library had a seminar room, an outdoor courtyard, a community room, a smaller meeting room and the used book store.
There was a time when libraries were the center of a town’s information and a major source for research, a repository for books and printed records. Today, with digital information available at everyone’s fingertips, libraries don’t maintain an image as a center of anything anymore. But that concept could not be more wrong. Visit the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library anytime during most hours of operation and you’ll find it hard to locate a parking spot. In fact, people are often waiting for it to open in the morning.
Another interesting development is the rise in interest for books in print. Reese, who is also the coordinator for Grace’s Book Nook, discovered the store’s book sales have actually risen this year, and she found that young adults are now buying and collecting books. Sales from the book store are used to raise funds for SRFOL projects.
Reese noticed another trend regarding those who staff libraries these days and seek library science as a career.
“Young people are going into library service, and are excited about it,” she said. “It’s been nice to see.”
Libraries have come full circle. The Scripps Miramar Ranch Library remains a center of information. Reese explained that libraries are much more than books, although books are still important.
“I really believe that public libraries, along with public education, are the foundation of democracy,” she said.
Visitors to the library can use the library’s computer’s, access the internet, access various data bases, and use language instruction software. They can check out CDs and DVDs. There are books for every segment of a person’s lifespan. There are board books for babies, books for young adults, books for adults and large print books for seniors.
In addition, the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library offers an assortment of programs and activities. Some of these include live concerts, a book discussion group, and a Lego club. It offers classes such as an adult exercise class, a class about writing children’s books and a cooking class. There is also an active Teen Council that plans and holds activities.
In honor of the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library’s 25th anniversary, SRFOL has planned special events in March:
March 10, 6-9 p.m.; “An Evening to Remember,” featuring live music, docent tours, silent and live auctions. Includes two drinks, heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Funds will go toward enhancing the courtyard. Get early-bird tickets by Feb. 28: srfol.org
March 11, 2:30 p.m.; live concert with Billy Lee and the Swamp Critters (Cajun zydeco)
March 16, 10 a.m.; “Dances with Words” featuring Richard Lederer and singer/songwriter Bill Shipper
March 24, 1-4 p.m.; Community Birthday Celebration, an all-ages event with birthday cake, city officials, city library personnel and recognition of the winners of the SRFOL Student Essay Contest and winners of the commemorative bookmark design contest for K-12th graders
The Scripps Miramar Ranch Library is at 10301 Scripps Lake Drive.