Library a Hub of Activity But Could Use Help
Some may believe that libraries are meant for silent studying and reading, but the Ocean View Branch Library offers video-gaming, family storytime and other services that, according to branch manager and librarian Lise Braden, “can be life-changing.”
When you walk through the front door of the library, you are greeted by colorful banners above the librarian’s desk. To the left, you can find the adult section which includes a bulletin with job opportunities and other resources.
The teen and children’s areas, featuring books, toys and computers, are found to the right. Notably, the quote “Books are the carriers of civilization” by author Barbara Tuchman is displayed on the wall near the elevator.
The second floor of the Ocean View Library has a storytelling room in which meetings are held. In contrast with what a typical meeting room would look like in some peoples’ minds, the room is full of colorful posters that encourage reading in young children, as storytelling and other children’s programs take place here.
A computer lab for older patrons is located down the hallway whose ceiling and floors are decorated with letters, words and drawings.
People of different ages and needs can find assistance at the library, which serves the Ingleside, Ocean View and Merced Heights districts. Students in need of homework help can drop-in to the Library and receive free tutoring. Teenagers may prefer to attend Wii and XBox Gaming Saturdays, while younger children can participate in hands-on story time with their parents.
“We provide more than just recreation,” Braden said. “The recreational aspects are important, but we also provide services for the public that can’t be found anywhere else. We give information to our community in regards to housing, insurance and other major life needs.”
Besides the events mentioned above, the library offers classes that may appeal to an older demographic. Seniors can attend basic computer classes while adults may utilize the Book a Librarian service that provides assistance with the use of electronics.
Although there is an abundance of events at the Ocean View Branch Library, it is often difficult to increase clientele due to the library’s location, according to Braden. “Our particular neighborhood is often under the radar,” Braden said. “Many people don’t even know we’re here, and this has been the most challenging thing about my work here.”
To address the issue, Braden sends e-mails to patrons who have signed up to receive notifications from the library, had banners created to promote the library and posts information on At the Library, the San Francisco Public Library [SFPL] newsletter.
Librarian Sarah Kaminker asserted the importance of increasing interest in young children in particular. “We visit schools like Jose Ortega and Sheridan Elementary School, and we also do storytime in nearby preschools,” Kaminker said. “The purpose is to try to get the kids excited about going to the library.”
The library was previously set to receive top-to-bottom renovations. However, the plan has been delayed, according to deputy city librarian Michael Lambert. “Major renovations of branch libraries are not currently budgeted,” Lambert stated in an e-mail.
“However, I wholeheartedly agree that the Ocean View Library is a prime candidate for additional renovations given the age of the facility and the need for a modern 21st century library in that community. The Ocean View Library is as much a priority as any branch library within San Francisco as the San Francisco Public Library values each and every neighborhood throughout our service area.”
Due to recent PG&E operations that limit parking around the library, clientele have decreased further, according to Braden. “The branch has become quiet, something that I am not comfortable with,” Braden said. “I’m stuck; I do all I can to get the word out and promote the library, but as of now, I don’t know what I should do.”
The Ocean View Branch Library is open from 10:00 to 6:00 on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, 12:00 to 8:00 on Wednesday, 11:00 to 7:00 on Thursday and 1:00 to 6:00 on Friday.
Information about upcoming events and classes as well as how to register for them can be found under the Ocean View Branch Library section on the SFPL website.