Beyond the Shelf: Discover the Power of the Library Card

Beyond the Shelf is a monthly column about the activities and people of the La Jolla/Riford Library.

September is library card sign-up month, which inspired me to ask the friendly faces of the library a simple question: “How you prefer to use your library card? »

Some of the answers might surprise you.

Asked her favorite thing to do with a library card, library assistant Cindy Vuu emphatically said, “Learning online. Then I want to take a computer course.

Accessible through the San Diego Public Library website,, Gale Courses offers a wide range of highly interactive, instructor-led courses that library card holders can take online at no cost to them. Classes last six weeks and new sessions start every month.

Rosetta Stone is a great deal for library cardholders who want to learn a new language. I personally use it to continue my quest to learn French. During the previous school year, Afghan refugee students enrolled at La Jolla High School obtained library cards for the specific purpose of using Rosetta Stone to strengthen their English.

Did you know that a library card gives access to newspapers? It’s true. You can read The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune on us. “Really?” exclaimed boss Alice Feng as I explained to her how to access the newspaper digitally the other day. We then visited the Newsstand database, which provides access to over 2,300 major US regional, national and local newspapers, as well as major titles from around the world. And because she was curious, we finally looked at the Flipster database so she could see which magazines she can access digitally with her library card.

Emily McKinnon and her children Jack, 8, and Nina, 11, visit the La Jolla/Riford Library.

(Courtesy of Katia Graham)

Now consider the vast collection of e-books available to library cardholders. La Jolla/Riford Library patron Emily McKinnon and library staff Shadi Sarikhani love accessing e-books and e-audiobooks through the Cloud Library app, which you can download to your favorite device.

All of this and more, like an abundance of research databases and academic journals, can be found under “eLibrary” San Diego Public Library website tab.

Oh yes. We also have physical resources. Over 68,000 books line the shelves of the La Jolla/Riford Library. A library card gives patrons access to all of them, as well as alternative resources such as DVDs and magazines, not to mention the millions of books in the San Diego Public Library collection and books cloud library electronics. Customers can view up to 40 books at a time. Since kids can also get library cards, a family of four could potentially leave the library with 160 books in tow!

Outlets are where the heart is, and the ‘SDPL to Go’ app makes it possible. Boss Anna Marie Cameron said her library card plays a vital role in her weekend routine: “I love putting books on hold while I scan the Sunday paper for book recommendations.”

Supervising Librarian Kelly Pepo said, “I use my library card as much as possible to place reservations and access audiobooks. But as someone who loves cookbooks, I really rely on borrowing cookbooks so I can try before you buy instead of buying them outright and realizing there’s not much to it who would interest me in cooking. It saved me a lot of money.

We all use our library cards differently. We like that. The public library is there for you to use in the way that best suits you.

La Jolla/Riford Library Branch Manager William Mallory stands by this statement: “Whether it’s teaching you new skills, improving your job opportunities, or enriching your life with new ideas, everyone with a library card can pursue his passions.

Where will your library card take you?

Katia Graham is the Youth Services Librarian at La Jolla/Riford Library. You can email him at To sign up for a library card, stop by the library at 7555 Draper Ave. or complete the online application form available at Follow @lajolllibrary on Instagram.

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