“Imperial Beach’s public library is the only library in the county that has belly dancing classes. They also have an ESL Café where people can practice speaking English and, in the near future, a machine that lets people rent laptops with their library card. “It works just like getting a Snickers bar from the vending machine,” said branch manager June Frost, before adding that the laptops need to stay in the library.
Imperial Beach’s $8.5 million public library is three times the size of the previous facility. On Aug.1, Frost gave the City Council a presentation of everything that has been accomplished so far. Circulation increased by 140 percent, programs by 123 percent, and Internet access increased by 155 percent, Frost told the council. The previous library had eight Internet terminals. The new one has 14. The old library had 42,000 materials — including books, magazines, and movies. The new one has 126,000. But libraries aren’t just about books anymore, Frost said. Imperial Beach’s library wants to be a community center where people can go for a wide range of programs and services.
“I always jokingly say that this is a flip-flop library,” Frost said. “What I mean by that is you can walk off the beach in your flip-flops and go right to the library.”This year, the library organized family movie nights,gave space to clubs such as the local chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance, and dedicated one room to exhibit art made by area residents. That room is so popular at the library that it is booked until February 2020, Frost said. Year two of the library should bring more computer classes, career guidance programs, writers workshops and, if they get enough volunteers, AARP tax assistance” – email@example.com