library & information science, personal & miscellany

For spacious skies

You know you’ve reached peak library nerd status when you’re planning romantic weekend getaways around the opening of a new county library. And folks: I have arrived.

library
The new Borrego Springs branch of the San Diego County Library

Sunday was our 18th anniversary, and it was my year to plan the activity. We’ve never been gift-givers, preferring instead to do something fun together, and we take turns annually deciding what that will be. In early December the San Diego County Library officially opened its newest branch in Borrego Springs, and I’d been dying to get out there. Borrego Springs is a small town in unincorporated northeast San Diego County, set in the middle of the ruggedly beautiful Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a place we love, and have often gone to camp, hike, and view wildflowers. So I booked us a room, picked out a few hikes, checked the library’s hours of operation, and we were on our way.

The new library is a striking 14,000 square foot zero-net-energy building, with plentiful activity and meeting spaces, and modern resources like a 3D printer and a nicely-appointed technology center. It’s surrounded by a new playground, athletic areas, and an outdoor amphitheater, and is flanked by a brand new Sheriff substation. I appreciated Marc’s astute observation once we got inside: “You know, there really don’t seem to be very many books here, for such a big, beautiful space.” He’s right. The spaciousness of this new branch speaks to the transforming roles of libraries: they are no longer merely warehouses for books. They are centers of community life.

reading area
No doubt, this would be my go-to corner, if this was my branch library. The views of the desert and surrounding mountains are glorious.

I don’t know how many items this branch has in circulation, but serving a community with a population of about 3,500 I don’t imagine it’s a big number. And yet, having forgotten to bring my Anza-Borrego desert region guidebook from home, we found a more recent edition of it available in the stacks, checked it out, and then returned it before we left town. The joy of finding exactly what I need in a library just never gets old.

Eventually, I peeled myself away from the library, and we checked into our cozy, quiet room at the Borrego Valley Inn for a great weekend of playing in the rocks, enjoying the clear desert air, and enjoying the night skies in California’s only certified Dark Sky Community. Let’s hear it for wide, open spaces.

Amy Fonts Point
Astounding views of the Anza-Borrego badlands from Fonts Point and Vista del Malpais
Marc in The Slot
The Slot, a fantastic and mildly terrifying hike through a stunning siltstone slot canyon
tapirs
Over 100 metal sculptures by artist Ricardo Breceda dot the landscape around the town of Borrego Springs

*Click here for more photos of all of these beautiful spaces*

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