On Thursday, June 6, the La Jolla-Riford Library celebrated 120 years of continuous library service in La Jolla. The library has resided at its current location, 7555 Draper Ave., since 1989.
"We want people to know we're here," said Sue Wagener, the event's organizer. "And we want them to know that we have much more to offer in addition to books."
About 500 people daily visit the library, she said.
Thursday's celebration included festivities from morning until night, including a scavenger hunt and storytime for children and an after-hours party for adults — all with a detective story theme to honor mystery writer and one-time La Jolla resident Raymond Chandler.
A 120-year anniversary is a good opportunity to consider the changing role of the library. In order to remain relevant, the library had to evolve and reinvent itself for the digital world; a call that it answered in flying colors with hands-on, interactive learning opportunities.
There's a Bio Lab, which Wagener describes as a place, "where kids and adults can do experiments, gene sequencing, and learn about DNA. It's very high tech."
The Bio Lab is part of an innovation space at the library that also includes 3D printers and a 50-person capacity classroom.
The La Jolla-Riford Library was among the first libraries in the country, maybe the world, to feature a public biotech laboratory, Wagener said. The library has a partnership with San Diego's burgeoning biotech industry.
But that's not all. There's also a History Room, which includes the first Digital Memory Lab in the region. Bring in your old, obsolete media files — audio cassettes, floppy disks, and videotapes — and the staff will help you digitize them.
The Digital Memory Lab was funded by a $10,000 grant from the local philanthropic group, Las Patronas.
Wagener's message was crystal clear: "We're about much more than just books."
In addition to the technology and science focus, the library offers a broad array of resources for children and teens, as well as literacy and education programs, assistance with career and college prep, and art, music and culture programming.
Many of the services like the Bio Lab would not be available were it not for the generous contributions that the library receives from donors. Consider supporting the library for a tax-deductible contribution and becoming a member of its philanthropic arm, Friends of The La Jolla-Riford Library, or visit the La Jolla-Riford Library and take advantage of all that it has to offer.
The library, which serves the communities of Bird Rock, La Jolla, and Torrey Pines, is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 12:30 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, visit lajollalibrary.org or call 858-552-1657.