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Library's 120th Anniversary Festivities


On Thursday, June 6th, 2019, we are celebrating the 120th anniversary of a public library in La Jolla! In fact, you can browse the original minutes from the library's first meeting in our history room while you digitize your old family photos in the process! There’s a lot more we want you to experience for the anniversary, and we’ve packaged it all into a variety of activities on Thursday, June 6th.  

Trivia Hunt

From 10:00am to 5:00pm, participate in a Trivia Quiz turned scavenger hunt that entails visiting different areas of the library and learning about them and La Jolla history in the process. You’ll even be eligible to enter a raffle for cool giveaways.


At 10:30am, we’ve prepared a special storytime for our youngest patrons. There’s a Junior Detective theme replete with a clue hunt and prizes, and the tot in your life doesn’t want to miss it.

After-Hours Party

In the evening from 6:30pm-8:30pm, there’s a Friends Members-only party for adults. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Notable La Jollans of the past and present will be there to assist guests in solving the mystery, The Caper on Draper: Who Stole the Manuscript? Would you like to become a member and attend? Register at the event for as little as ten dollars. 

Did you know the famed mystery novelists Raymond Chandler and Anne Rice lived in La Jolla? Or that mystery fiction novels are our most frequently circulated books? It’s inspired the mystery theme for the entire day.  We hope to see you on June 6th!

teachers teaching kids how to code


California is heading towards a mandate that will require every child to be taught computer programming in the public K-12 system. The only problem is that there are not enough teachers to teach all of the kids! Here's where UCSD and our library come in. Recently, undergrads from UCSD School of Computer Science and Engineering held a workshop at the La Jolla/Riford library. The purpose was not only to teach the kids how to code, but also to teach the teachers "how to teach" and understand the mechanics of teaching. These students were not necessarily going to become teachers down the road, but as part of the experience of learning to code, one needs to understand how to teach coding.  And one of the best outcomes is inpiring kids to learn more about computers! 

Click here to see the video on CS Foreach: Teaching Computer Science in Informal Space

Guided walks will help La Jolla's environment!


Join the La Jolla/Riford Library and the La Jolla Historical Society for a tour of La Jolla's canyons. Participants will be asked to collect plants and bugs that they find along the way to have them identified by their DNA sequences, contributing to our understanding of La Jolla's unique ecosystem. Sign up for one of the two hikes here:

Saturday June 30th from 9-12 in Rose Canyon 

Saturday July 14th from 9-12 in Kate Sessions Canyon



Kudos to 95-year-old Paul Canin, pictured here, who recently learned how to use our 3D printer to make a bagel-hole cutter. 3D printing is the process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model by laying down many thin layers of material in succession.  Life-long learner and former architect Paul and his wife, Helen, were visiting their nephew Allan Kleinman, a resident of La Jolla Shores, when Paul expressed an interest in learning about 3D printing.  Suchetta Sharma, a member of the La Jolla/Riford Library volunteers, demonstrated the technique in our Innovation Lab. Paul has a workshop in the basement of his home and makes many things of his own design in wood, plastic, silver and, apparently, bagel dough.  And, Paul recycles too. He will not discard the “holes,” but intends to reshape them into breadsticks.

If you too would like to learn how to use 3D printing, stop by during lab open hours


7th grader raises $155 for our library


La Jolla Country Day 7th grader Drew Kagnoff raised $155 for the library by holding a book sale, mostly of his own old books. In the photo he is presenting presenting branch manager, Shaun Briley, with the check, made out to the Friends of the Library.




Innovative Service in La Jolla Leads to Staff Recognition


Kudos to La Jolla/Riford Library branch manager, Shaun Briley, for being named 2018 Employee of the Year by the City of San Diego Libraries thanks to a slew of groundbreaking services provided by the branch. La Jolla residents have enjoyed such innovations as the Memory Lab, the Bio Lab, the 3D printing Lab, ‘Citizen Science’ lectures, and other enriching programs brought in under Briley's stewardship.  According to San Diego Library Director Misty Jones, Shaun received multiple nominations citing the way he and other library staff work "tirelessly to connect with community leaders to create meaningful partnerships that benefit our patrons.” Briley commented: "a top library needs top staff and we are blessed to have a great team in La Jolla. This accolade reflects the efforts of everyone who works here."




Mobile Library is a hit at the Kiwanis Pancake breakfast


On Saturday July 28th the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla served up their annual “gift to the community”…The Pancake Breakfast at the La Jolla Rec Center. Many calories were consumed, along with laughter and comradery.  The La Jolla Library was right in the thick of it with their booth and Mobile Library, manned by our Youth Librarian, Angie Stavie, and a bevy of young volunteers.  Heavy traffic ensued and many patrons signed up for library cards and the Summer Reading Program.  Congratulations and thank you to Angie and the volunteers.





Library represented at the Art and Wine Festival


Library homework coach, David Gak, was among many volunteers who made the library booth at the annual Art and Wine festival a huge success. The library was offering 3D printing, button making and there were even books available to checkout with our mobile library. Thanks to generous sponsors Gepettos, for providing our booth right on the corner of Wall Street and Girard Ave.







On Monday, February 25th, the La Jolla/Riford Library hosted San Diego's Environmental Services Department and a very special storytime—Meet a Garbage Truck Storytime! Toddlers listened to stories about garbage trucks, met sanitation workers, and even got to tour the inside of a garbage truck and watch the vehicle in action! Over a hundred people, including NBC and CBS News, turned out. Local author Marcia Berneger herself stopped by to read "Buster the Little Garbage Truck." 

Keith Di Giulio, Area Refuse Collection Supervisor, talked to reporters about the importance of this event. “It's extremely important because the kids get to see who the trash guy is and get to see that he is a person.” The awe on the children’s faces said it all. Garbage Truck Storytime was a big success!  

Click here to watch NBC’s video coverage.


Library Shines in La Jolla Christmas Parade


La Jolla/Riford Library staff and volunteers marched in the 61st annual La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival on Sunday, December 2nd . Pushing festively adorned book carts and even accompanied by a storybook character (the Gingerbread man), representatives proudly dressed in their Christmas best and demonstrated enthusiasm for the library as they wove from one sunny, spectator-lined street to the next.

Recognizing many faces in the crowd, Angie Stava, the Youth Services librarian exclaimed, “This is so much fun!” Branch Manager Shaun Briley, alongside his young sons, waived while the announcer entreated the public to come check out the latest happenings at the library, including one of the 100,000 books on the shelves.

From Girard Avenue to Prospect Street, La Jolla Riford Library drew countless smiles as one of the parade's 80 entrants.


Best-Selling Author Susan Orlean kicks off Book Tour


In Senegal, it’s said when someone dies, "his/her library has burned.” This expression, Susan Orlean revealed, encapsulates everything she aimed to convey in her latest novel. During "The Library Book" reading and signing hosted by Warwick's at La Jolla/Riford Library on October 18th, the New York Times best-selling author discussed what drove her to write about an event largely overlooked in history—the mysterious 1986 fire at the Los Angeles Public Library. In an effort to examine the fire that desecrated hundreds of thousands of books, "The Library Book" explores the entire history of the L.A. Public Library, the colorful characters once employed there, and how the library functions daily, all connected to the idea that libraries have a particular resonance for everyone. On Thursday, Orlean shared a passage recalling precious library outings with her own mother as a child, a testament to the library’s role as “Immortal Memory Holder.” The library beckons stories and promises stories in return, she said, which is perhaps why the burning of books feels unequivocally wrong, and why, certainly, libraries do matter.



The La Jolla Library Art Gallery is pleased to announce its summer show, A World Underwater.

Thirteen members of the San Diego Underwater Photographic Society have been invited to exhibit their

work which tells the story of the diversity and beauty of plant and animal life that exists in our oceans.

These photos immerse the viewer in nature’s exotic, compelling and breathtaking sea life and showcase

a truly spectacular and sometimes mysterious world.

The show runs from June 18 to September 14, 2019, with an opening reception on Sunday, June 23 from 2-4pm.

Participants include Bob Pooley, Corinne Klein, Dana Buchner, Erin Chandler, Greg Volger, Jami Feldman,

Marla Matin, Matthew Meier, Mike Couffer, Robert Yin, Teresa Pooley, Walter Heim, and Nan Oslett.


The La Jolla Library Art committee is pleased to announce an upcoming exhibit of contemporary art by two artists Kathy Schumacher and Krista Schumacher. The working title of the exhibit is Connected: Two Artists, Two Coasts.

Krista Schumacher is an artist based here in La Jolla and Kathy Schumacher is an artist based in Florida.   You may have seen some of their works exhibited or some of the press they have received.  Their art has been featured at events in southern California such as Ferrari of San Diego and the LJ Art Festival as well as events from coast to coast.  They have received a lot of great press over the years and are really taking off, so we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to have their work exhibited at the library this year.

There will be approximately 30 works of art from representational florals to abstract landscapes. Many capture coastal themes.  All works will be oil on canvas  -- some small (12” x 12”) and some large (36” x 48”) and will range in prices from $400 to $5,750.  The exhibit will be up from February 6 - April 22.  

The reception will be Sunday, February 23, 2-4pm. 



Did you know?

The La Jolla/Riford Library boasts what is quite possibly the first biology lab inside a public library anywhere in the world. It contains everything required for the majority of molecular biology techniques, such as a thermal cycler, gel electrophoresis, and centrifuge. Thanks to the camera connected to one of the lab microscopes, students can view their slides up on the TV or on a computer screen, take images, and conduct more in-depth analysis of microscope slides. 

At the new space’s grand opening, Congressman Scott Peters bestowed it with a congressional proclamation! As he put it, the lab is “a reflection of the bio-tech industry in La Jolla and makes emerging technology accessible to anybody.”

Summer Camp!

The first summer camp at the bio-lab was a Hands-On Genetic Modification workshop aimed to teach children and their parents about cells, DNA, DNA replication, and PCR. These experiments were completed with a bacterial transformation (introduction of foreign DNA), which caused the bacteria to glow when exposed to UV light.

Student Essay Contest is Now Open!


The annual Friends of La Jolla/Riford Library Student Essay Contest is now open to all students in 4th grade.

Take up your pen, polish your writing skills and enter to win. Topic: Tell us about your favorite book and how it has had a personal imapact on your life. How did it impact you and why? Top essays will be invited to an award ceremony in spring 2020. Winners receive gift cards & more!  Deadline is 6:00 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.

Please feel free to share with 4th grade teachers and families. The entry form and essay prompt linked below.


Explore the Idea Lab


The Idea Lab at the La Jolla/Riford Library is open to “any member of the community who is curious about science or has an idea they want to try out.” Those are the words of Callen Hyland, a Senior Research Scientist at the University of San Diego and one of the lab’s passionate volunteers. Since the Idea Lab’s grand opening on May 25, 2019, volunteers and patrons have made excellent use of the signature space. The lab has three main aspects—a community biology lab, a 3D printer lab, and two brand new Mac computers equipped to edit digitized photos and videos (such as what you’ve digitized in the Memory Lab!).

Hours of Operation

The bio lab is accessible to registrants from the public during scheduled weekend workshops and by appointment only. The 3D printer lab and memory lab are open whenever a volunteer is present. Check here for information on service hours and upcoming workshops and unleash the citizen scientist in you! 


Sensory Storytime Makes its Way to the La Jolla Library


Books, songs, and props. A storyteller and children. On the surface, it reads much like a traditional story time. Yet this program will take place in the Seminar Room, where a separate area in a corner of the room will be designated for anyone needing a break. The lights will also be dimmed more than usual. The idea is to reduce surrounding stimuli so the focus can be on the storytelling. The goal? To create the kind of story time all children can attend and participate in, including children with autism. 

Bill Mallory, Branch Manager at La Jolla/Riford Library, called for the program, which is similar to the Sensory Storytime offered at San Diego Public Library’s Central Branch.  The difference is this program will more overtly cater to children on the autism spectrum. “It’s not that common,” said Mallory. “But I see a need for a program designed with children on the spectrum in mind. We want parents and caregivers to feel comfortable coming to the library.”  

For months, Mallory studied recommended structural guidelines and prepared for the launch of this new program with targeted marketing efforts. According to facts compiled by Rady Children’s Hospital, an estimated one in 59 children are on the spectrum with autism. In a bibliographic era calling for more inclusion, Sensory Storytime fits perfectly. The best part, Mallory said, is that every child will be made to feel welcome. “We just want kids to be engaged and have fun,” he emphasized.

Sensory Storytime will be held monthly beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at noon. A storyteller will lead the hour-long program in the Seminar Room of the La Jolla/Riford Library.


A Message From the President

I have loved libraries for as along as I can remember. Growing up in La Jolla, the branch library was on the corner of Wall St. and Girard – and is now the Athenaeum…but was the main LJ Library when I was a child and I loved everything – from the Dewey Decimal card catalogue drawers to the tall, dark wood shelves that held what seemed like an endless collection of books. My library fixation continued in college. Attending a large public research university meant there were dozens of libraries on campus and just a few of my favorites were the Southeast Asian Studies Library, the Engineering Library, the Law school library and the French department library – each provided not only a great place to study, but an array of fascinating titles. And for a college job, I worked in the Inter-Library Borrowing Service office housed in Doe, the main library (yes, I was a Golden Bear at UC Berkeley). It was difficult to believe that any title couldn’t be found in the University’s enormous collection, but when a researcher located a needed item at another library somewhere else in the world, our department would send a request to borrow it. Likewise, we would package up books from our own collection to loan to other scholars at various institutes of higher learning. 

Sounds so lofty now, since when I sit down to read something from our local library, I tend to choose something less research-oriented, and more to feed my soul. Our collection ranges from recent releases (Express Books!) to beloved classics; fine literature to non-fiction tomes – and a great collection of children’s and young adult books, periodicals and audio books. But our “new” branch (yes, it has been 30 years at our current location, but it still feels new to me!) holds so much more than books and provides so many ways to feed our souls! As a long-time friend (and member of the Friends Board) Kim Doren recently wrote to me, “in my youth I thought the library was defined by its collection of books, but now I see that the library is more a collection of life long learning resources and people; it connects the community and provides opportunities for discovery and inspiration.” She is spot-on.

Our reimagined Idea Lab holds science experiments, new computers, and 3-D printers. The Memory Lab is a place where patrons can digitize photos and videos to keep these priceless memories intact and readily accessible. Our branch offers afternoon films, homework help, toddler reading sessions, art exhibitions, musical concerts, citizen science lectures, creative writing classes…check out our calendar and prepare to be impressed! But in our branch you will certainly find books to read, to listen to and to use. My daughter and her husband recently returned from traveling around the world and moved to La Jolla for a few months. They immediately got library cards and began checking out ethnic cookbooks from which they prepared exotic dishes…just another reason I love libraries!

We are so fortunate to be able to celebrate having continuous library service in La Jolla for 120 years! And, as I said, our beautiful branch opened on Draper Street 30 years ago in June. A lot to celebrate this year and we welcome you to join in the festivities (check the calendar). The Friends group exists to support the programs and book collection – and you too can be a member for as little as a $10.00 donation. If you chose to join, we thank you sincerely for your support! We take pride in being part of and preserving the history of our community through our History Room – its archives of digitized copies the La Jolla Light, the La Jolla Blue Book along with loads of ephemera and books on the history of La Jolla and or region. We preserve the past, and look ahead!

And of course, we hope you will stop by and see what the library has to offer that might interest you and feed your soul!

Linda Gammage Dowley, President

Friends of the La Jolla Library


Click here to download the document.