CEO’s Message

Vista Join Library Craze

September, 2014

The Vista branch of the San Diego County Library recently hit a milestone.  For years the Vista branch has been the most active branch in the county, but in 2013-14, the Vista branch had over one million (1,000,000) items checked out, the first branch ever in San Diego County to reach such an accomplishment.  That is an amazing statistic.  Congratulations to our library staff and volunteers for helping to make Vista Library the most active branch in the county.

However, there is a new craze in libraries that is sweeping the nation.  It is called Little Free Library.  If you are like me and have never heard of Little Free Libraries, let me bring you up to speed.  Little Free Libraries are free “take a book, leave a book” book exchanges.  Physically speaking, they are hand-crafted structures created to imitate the old one-room school house.  These structures typically hold 20-100 books donated and shared by people of all ages and backgrounds.

The structures look like birdhouses.  They don’t require library cards.  There are no late fines.  You also do not have to whisper or stay quiet when you interact with them.  And ultimately, they don’t mind if you do not return a book.

The concept started in 2009 in Wisconsin by a man who was searching for a way to create a fitting memorial to his mother.  His idea rapidly spread and now, according to, there are over 15,000 Little Free Libraries in over 62 countries. Over one million people have searched the Little Free Library website.  Lastly, the organizers anticipate that in 2014, over 6 million books will be exchanged through their innovative libraries.

More germane to our story here, Vista recently joined the Little Free Library craze. It is a cute little bird-house looking structure that is located on Beaumont Drive, at the NCTD bus stop across from Beaumont Elementary School.

I noticed the structure a couple of months ago while driving by and have been intrigued ever since.  Unfortunately, Little Free Libraries have been growing so fast, their website mapping system is not able to keep up.  So the Vista site is not listed on their map yet. I was disappointed in this revelation as I have no idea who to thank and acknowledge for this act of community service.  The map on the Little Free Libraries website does list four other north county installations, but nothing in Vista. Three of the four listed in North County appear to be in memory of loved ones, mirroring the initial motivation of the founder of this movement.

The overall goal of Little Free Libraries is to promote a sense of community, reading for children, literacy for adults and libraries around the world.  That’s a great vision.  I am excited that someone in Vista took the initiative to bring this innovative form of community pride to our neck of the woods.  If you happen to know who is responsible, please email me let me know (

Who’s next?

Viva Vista

Bret Schanzenbach
Vista Chamber of Commerce