By Kristina Houck
From attending council meetings to visiting local retirement centers, Sheila Crosby has toured Solana Beach to learn about the community she serves as the new branch manager of Solana Beach Library.
“Libraries, nowadays, in order to stay relevant, we can’t just be about books and be about our building,” said 35-year-old Crosby, who lives in Carmel Mountain Ranch. “You have to become whatever it is the community needs you to be. Our focus isn’t on books; it’s about information. It’s about connecting our community so they can be educated and involved. I’m interested in getting involved and learning about the community to find out what those interests are and make sure we have what they need.”
A recent Oklahoma transplant originally from Los Angeles, Crosby started with the San Diego County Library on Aug. 9. She has worked in public libraries for seven years, most recently as the branch manager of Moore Public Library of the Pioneer Library System in Oklahoma.
“I believe in small community branches because that’s when you can really make a difference for that individual community,” Crosby said.
Crosby worked as a teller at a Rancho Santa Fe bank while she attended San Diego State University, where she earned her bachelor’s in comparative literature with a minor in linguistics. After graduation, she worked for a mortgage company before relocating with her husband to his home state.
“I went to work every day and I didn’t like my job,” Crosby said. “I thought I had to find something that I wanted to do.”
After the couple’s move, Crosby decided to go back to school. She remembered how much she enjoyed attending ballet classes and other programs at her local library growing up, and decided to pursue a career in public libraries. While studying for her master’s degree in library sciences at the University of Oklahoma, Crosby landed her first job in the field as the youth services librarian at Pioneer Library System’s Noble Public Library.
“The very first day I started my first library job — that’s when I knew that that’s where I was supposed to be,” Crosby said. “It was just so much fun. I kept on pinching myself saying, ‘I can’t believe they pay me to do this kind of work!’ I just knew that was where I was meant to be.”
Now back in San Diego, Crosby is thrilled to head the 10,000-square-foot Solana Beach branch, which serves thousands of people every month. In July, nearly 13,000 people visited the branch at 157 Stevens Ave., which circulated almost 30,000 materials.
“I knew that I wanted to be with this system, so I applied for any position that I saw open,” Crosby said. “When I went in for interviews, it was still up in the air where I would end up. I was so happy when they called and offered me Solana Beach. Do I take the beautiful beach town branch? ‘Yes, I think I’ll accept!’”
Having worked as the children’s department manager before being promoted to branch manager at Moore Public Library, Crosby enjoys working with children and providing book recommendations, especially since she had trouble reading as a young child. She is looking forward to offering community programs, reading at monthly storytime sessions at Solana Beach Presbyterian Church’s preschool, providing reading materials to the elderly at retirement centers and attending local events.
“It’s important for me to be present in the community and let people know that we want to be whatever they need,” Crosby said. “Come and visit us at the library. Continue to let us know what you need, and we’ll try our best to provide it.”
For more information about the Solana Beach Library, visit http://sdcl.org/locations_SB.html.