May 16, 2022

California: San Diego County Library Offers Shelter, Snacks, Stories, and Assistance During and After Area Wildfires

Here’s the Full Text of a Note We Received from the San Diego County Library (SDCL):

Nearly 20,000 acres have burned in San Diego County as a result of wildfires, fed by record-breaking temperatures and gusty winds. San Diego County Library (SDCL) serves the expansive county through 33 branch libraries and 2 bookmobiles, many of which are located in communities hardest hit by the firestorm. The Cocos Fire in San Marcos, only 10% contained at the time of publication, resulted in the evacuation of approximately 29,000 residences, plus the evacuation and closure of Cal State San Marcos. The nearby San Marcos Branch of SDCL, however, remains open. With a television rolled out into the lobby and staff sharing snacks with customers (plus dog bones for their furry friends), the San Marcos community is taking respite from the heat, smoke, and anxiety by convening in the sanctuary that is the public library. At the Ramona Branch, staff conducted a storytime to a crowd of kids and parents despite a power outage, and the staff of the North Bookmobile stood side-by-side with customers watching the flames at their stop in Rancho Vallecitos Estates.

With many schools throughout the county closed on Thursday and Friday, SDCL staffers prepared craft activities and called in extra personnel to ensure that local residents felt welcome and safe during this time of need.

“Our staff continues to set and expand the standard in public services embracing their role to care and shelter during natural disasters as readily as their traditional roles in family literacy and program services,” said Library Director José Aponte. “Loosely paraphrasing one of my colleagues here in San Diego, staff has demonstrated their best during what for too many families in San Diego County is the worst of times.”

The library’s top priority in this disaster: the wellbeing of its valued customers.

Today, KPBS television reported that the county has opened a Recovery Liaison Office at the San Marcos Branch of the SDCL.

Additional Coverage from the San Diego Union-Tribune

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.