Busy Summer, Renovations for Popular Mariners Library

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The sign for Crean Mariners Branch, located at 1300 Irvine Ave.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

Mariners Library branch staff shared some project updates and statistics for the popular library during a meeting this week.

The Board of Board of Library Trustees held their meeting Monday at the Crean Mariners Branch, located at 1300 Irvine Ave.

Mariners Branch Librarian Andy Kachaturian provided a detailed presentation and update.

“We’re a busy branch,” Kachaturian said.

The 15,305-square-foot Crean Mariners Branch of the Newport Beach Public Library opened in April of 2006.

The branch is unique in Newport Beach as it is a joint use facility with the adjoining Mariners Elementary School, Kachaturian pointed out. During the school year, when school is in session the school portion of the library is closed to the public. The branch has several after school programs that bring in large crowds of kids.

“This also gives us a wonderful outreach opportunity, since we don’t have to go off site to visit with students,” Kachaturian wrote in the staff report.

Last year, a donation from the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation provided new shelving for music CDs and DVDs (two of the most highly used sections of the library, with an average checkout ratio of almost 3 times that of our general collection), they enhanced the outdoor lighting in the parking lot, and the entire building was re-carpeted.

The lighting was a “big improvement,” which prompted several positive comments from visitors, Kachaturian said during his presentation.

“The library really, really looks beautiful,” Board Chair Janet Ray commented after the presentation.

The Mariners School PTA also donated close to $2,000 from their Book Fair Fundraiser to the children’s collection. Librarian Christine Chapel selected items from the Book Fair to be added to the collection.

An aerial view of Mariners Library Branch and neighborhood.
— Google Maps

The “Lucky Day” collection was moved closer to the checkout area near the front catalogs for higher visibility and have generated more appeal and checkouts.

This year, they are working on reconfiguring the parking spaces on Dover Drive, Kachaturian confirmed. Staff hopes to add about seven or eight more spots, he added.

There have been concerns expressed about parking in the past, Board Vice Chair Paul Watkins noted.

The idea for parking started a few years ago with the board, he noted, and it’s nice to see the plan coming to fruition.

“It could make an enormous difference,” with some more spots, Watkins said.

Also this year, staff plans to replace the donor wall located at the entrance of the library. The wooden panels that comprised the wall are fading, Kachaturian explained.

“We’re looking forward to finishing that project,” he said.

It was decided to entirely redo the area with panels and graphics that are more cost effective and easily replaced if necessary, according to the staff report. Caliber Signs and Imaging of Irvine is in the process of completing the new panels that will hopefully be ready for installation within the next couple of months. City staff worked with an outside company to take down the original panels, repair and paint the wall in anticipation of the new components.

They are also looking at possible renovations in the computer area and a new integrated library system, he added.

Residents check out the new CdM library during the grand opening event.
— Photo by Sara Hall ©

“This year has focused on refining existing shelving, collection maintenance, and facility improvements with the exterior lighting,” Kachaturian wrote in the staff report. “With a new school library media technician on board for a new school year, we are also working to cement our relationship with Mariners Elementary and continue to be an excellent resource for the school students in addition to our public customers who enjoy their community library so well.”

Newly purchased software “CollectionHQ,” which reports item statistics, has helped staff evaluate collections and their usage.

Kachaturian also spoke about the branch’s service population of 22,748, although they get many visitors from neighboring areas.

Mariners was responsible for 242,991 circulations of materials between October 2018 and September 2019. There were a total of 38,052 reference questions for the same time period.

All four branches have 577 active participants in the “1,000 Books before Kindergarten” program, with 35 children finishing the program at Mariners.

A total of 721 locals attended seven weeks of Mariners’ summer reading program, staff reported.

“The numbers were down slightly from last year which may be attributed to the fact that due to scheduling needs of the Recreation Department for the Jorgensen Room, programs had to be held on Saturdays instead of Mondays as in years past,” Kachaturian explained.

The branch hosted six classes from Kaiser Elementary school in June, talking to a total of 173 third graders about using the library and passing out new cards.

“They were all very excited to get to check out their first books,” Kachaturian reported.

In February, an AP Test prep class was held at Mariners. Potential teen volunteers took part in a volunteer information session in May and those who committed to volunteering for SRP attended a training session in mid-June.

For more information, visit newportbeachlibrary.org/about/hours-and-locations/crean-mariners-branch-library

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