Ann Gardner | Via Latina
|Polly Cipparrone. “We are like Sherpas.”
Photo Ann Gardner.
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Our new librarian sees libraries as places for discovering information, connecting with people and exchanging ideas, a place of intellectual freedom representing all points of view. “We are like Sherpas,” Polly Cipparrone says sitting happily at her new assignment in Del Mar, “helping people get to the next place. At one time, before the popularity of the internet,” she explains, “we were taught that the best librarian always asked an enquiring visitor ‘Does this completely answer your question?’ Now we help people use the internet, not only to find more information but how to check out free E books from the library.”
Polly has library genes although she did not give into them at first. Her mother Mary Jean Word was a high school librarian in San Diego County and often sent Polly to interview for library job openings. But she stubbornly tried banking first and only when she was in her late twenties did she give in when a career counselor said being librarian was what she really wanted to be all along. She left Southern California where she had grown up and went to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to earn an MS in Library Science. “It is one of the best library schools in the country and it was warm there.”
When she returned to Southern California in the late nineties there were no library job openings but she happily accepted temporary work at nearby libraries, including Escondido, Cal State San Marcos and Del Mar. In ’98 she got an entry level position in Vista before she was recruited by Central to manage their website, then staff training and community relations. “I was happiest interacting with staff and the community,” and she came to the Del Mar Library eight months ago.
Asked if there was one part of the library that was underused, she fretted that many residents don’t know that the library is more than just a place to be quiet and read a book. The Community Room is a good example, she explained, a place to convene and discuss. “How can we get information out to residents about programs offered in the Community Room? We put out a sign-up sheet for emails but no one signs it!” Answering her own question, our intrepid librarian then said she was going to speak before the Del Mar City Council this month to get input from them and hopefully the broader community. She wants to ask residents (she is also contacting different local groups) what they would like the library to be, to get different perspectives on how the library can be even more accessible and interactive.
When asked what she does in her free time or what books she is reading, Polly responds “One of my favorite authors is the mystery writer Marcia Muller and her female private investigator character Sharon McCone, but more recently my husband and I have been digging up our front lawn and replacing it with native plants to save on water.” Perfect. Welcome to Del Mar, Polly Cipparrone.
Go to the Del Mar Library website www.sdcl.org/locations_DM.html and click on “Events” for programs offered in the Community Room. You can also click on “Contact Branch Manager” to provide input on what you would like to see happening at the Del Mar branch. Best of all, you can hear our new librarian talk about the library and its November 2014 centennial celebration when she appears before the City Council on September 15, shortly after the beginning of the meeting at 6 p.m.