Cochise County Sunny Day Out: The Sierra Vista Public Library

Cochise County Sunny Day Out: The Sierra Vista Public Library

The Sierra Vista Public Library is the 4th feature of the series Cochise County Sunny Day Out, but rather than serving as a destination to explore (like the Boothill Graveyard or Our Lady of the Sierras), it’s included for its calendar of community events which warmly invite the public and cost nothing. And they are amazingly well-organized and executed. I am also taking this opportunity to feature some of the fascinating creations from the LEGO club!  

The library does not house many antiques, relics, or displays. It is not a landmark listed with the National Register of Historic Places like the Copper Queen Library in Bisbee. The walls remain relatively free of art, photos, posters, and sculpting. It is flat and sprawling, and it sits at the end of the municipal complex, surrounded by agencies not regarded as warm and welcoming for public entertainment, like the Sierra Vista Police Department next door, or the Highway Patrol across the street. While completely adequate and comfortable, the furnishings are plain.  Nothing about the landscaping or décor suggests Fun, Exciting, or Innovative, save for the outdoor bronze mural sculpted into the brick.  

The library has chosen instead to invest in building their collection sharable traditional and online materials, and certainly in their programs. The staff has distinctly set benchmarks in Arizona for creativity and ability to sponsor activities which educate yet entertain all ages, and I cannot write enough good things about the professionalism and vision they have embraced.   

The Sierra Vista Library makes the list for Cochise County Sunny Day Out for their programs, and for lending materials to be enjoyed outdoors and at home, materials other than books, movies, and CD’s. Some are listed below in no particular order.   

Discovery packs and equipment. I have not yet found another library loaning out anything like these discovery packs. The library has a Telescope Pack complete with a telescope, stand, and astronomy manual. There is a Birding and Butterfly Pack complete with 2 binoculars and an identification guide. You can borrow a Hiking Pack and explore with the guidebook, monocular, compass, and telescoping walking stick. They have other kits not listed here nor on their website, so be sure to ask someone to tell you about all of them. 

Video games. For gamers: they stock from PS2 to PS4, Xbox and Wii, Everyone to Mature ratings. A second feature which I have not seen at another library. Unfortunately, they do not loan out systems. Of course, if you get video games, then you may end up spending a Holed Up Day In, rather than a Sunny Day Out.  

Book kits for discussion groups. A third item which I have not yet found at any other libraries. You can borrow one for a discussion group, and you may also make one for the library for an author not yet included. Books, author info, and loose guide for discussion topics are loaned out in a protective plastic tub with lid. Some kits hold as few as 3 books (Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility), while others hold as many as 16 (George Orwell’s 1984). There is a brochure listing their kits, but it is not updated with some additions, such as Deborah Rodriguez with her Kabul Beauty School, which also became a cable series. Hold your discussion group outside, and you’ll still have a Sunny Day Out.

Borrow a Bike. Exactly what it sounds like, you do indeed borrow a bike and additionally acquire a helmet, lock, and local map.  

Aside from their innovative, unique sharables, the Sierra Vista Library makes the Cochise County Sunny Day Out List for their programs and activities, albeit that they are held indoors. It’s advisable to check the calendar for updates and additions to what they currently offer. The calendar stays full with some very unique activities. Some are listed below in no particular order. There may some outdoor activities added once Spring arrives.

LEGO club. For ages 6-12, on the last Monday of every month, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Legos are provided – so for those who couldn’t sell their Lego’s in that garage sale, you may consider dropping them off with the library. 

Wednesday Movie Matinee. Hosted on the first and third Wednesday of every month, for adults. The library picks “Indie favorites, major studio releases, and even oldies but goodies”.  There is also a Friday Family Movie Night, check with the library for current schedule.

STEAM Saturdays. For ages 5-12, participants learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics, through exciting, innovative activities.  Sure wish they had this class for those of us outside that age range….

Do check the calendar for their activities scheduled after dark. The Teen Anime Club is for ages 12-18, and they watch movies, do crafts, and are served “unique Japanese snacks”, which I’m sure are just oddly shaped sesame and rice crackers. Dried algae wrapped barnacles – now that would be unique.

The library also hosts a Library After Dark activity for ages 12-18. February’s theme was Murder at the Grand Gala. Participants solved a fun murder mystery using CSI techniques.

    The library does provide internet access stations, and there is ample spacious seating for those who want to relax and read, to study space with tables discreetly holding power strips. Depending on where you sit, it’s challenging to not mentally disappear through the window into the cactus gardens and further beyond.

This library serves only Cochise County residents, but they do participate in interlibrary lending. Sunny Day Out adventurers from Agua Prieta and Naco: although the library is not able to loan out materials across the border right now, they do invite you to the programs and activities.

Many Happy Sunny Days Out!

Also in this series: The Copper Queen Library – Bisbee,  Boothill – Tombstone,  Our Lady of the Sierras – Hereford

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