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Kathy Jung, who started her library career in 2008 in RSF, poses in the library’s travel section, fitting for the devoted traveler who has visited 91 countries. Photo by Jemma Samala
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Librarian comes back full circle

RANCHO SANTA FE — Kathy Jung began her library-centered career as a library technician, working part-time at the Rancho Santa Fe Branch Library in 2008. Fast forward 11 years later, and Jung returns to the library as a full-time branch manager, a newly created position. Along the way, Jung has brought her own energetic spirit to a number of county library branches, including 4S Ranch, Descanso, Bonita, Cardiff, San Marcos, and most recently Fallbrook. The variety of locations that she has experienced throughout the county is reflective of her diverse and adventurous background.

Jung was raised in Texas, where she attended the University of Texas at Austin for a business degree with an emphasis on information systems — a big help when dealing with the number of topics and books she now works with on a daily basis. She and her husband moved to San Diego, and she began working import/export in Australia. But her love of books and information led Jung to her currant career, and she was able to obtain her master’s degree in library science from San Jose State in 2012, receiving an Institute of Museum and Library Services Laura Bush Librarians for Diverse Communities grant.

Outside the library, Jung’s interests are also very diverse, especially her desire to travel the world — 91 countries so far. Her most challenging trip was climbing up to the base camp of Mt. Everest, which took eight days. Another memorable trip was a visit to Bhutan, the happiest country in the world. The difficulty to get there, the traditional dress and customs, and the sheer isolation of the country made Bhutan one of her favorites. While 91 countries seem like plenty to most people, Jung aims to travel to more countries in Africa (she’s only been to Morocco) and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Besides travel adventures, Jung has gone rock climbing, sky diving, and bungee jumping. She also graduated from culinary school, so she loves trying out the latest restaurants. Her latest extracurricular activity is joining the Toastmasters, which meets at the library Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m., so she has no excuse not to participate. And of course, Jung loves to read. So far, she’s read 31 books this year (she read over 50 last year), and enjoys mysteries, thrillers and sometimes romantic comedies.

Jung brings with her a sense of enthusiasm for learning. She plans to increase awareness of what the library has to offer by going out to the farmers market, organizing summer reading programs, and outreach with the local schools. After school  days, the library becomes an active setting for students to do homework, research, or visit with friends prior to sporting activities or going home. The kids especially enjoy the library’s 3D printer, where they can create such things as a chess set. They have Teen Lock-In nights, where teens come to the library after closing for three hours to play games and  hang out with friends in a safe environment. Jung believes that providing programs for students, and especially teens is an important part of her job.

The library calendar is jam-packed with events for adults as well, ranging from chair yoga to a Master Class video series with Gordan Ramsay, Anna Wintour, David Baldacci and more. There are OASIS programs ranging from topics on health, travel, art and gardening. The library has an extensive collection of fiction, historical fiction, biographies, children’s books, and audio books. Digital eBooks are also available to download for three weeks, all you need is a library card, instantly available online to county residents.

Jung was able to obtain a Back to Action grant and will partner with the Helen Woodward Center and will be promoting the book “Rescue Dogs” through a series of events planned for the spring 2020, including a blanket drive, food drive, pet toy collection and safety information.

An important partnership the library has is with the Rancho Santa Fe Library Guild, whose volunteers and fundraising are a big help to the library. The Book Cellar (located next to the library) sells used books for adults and children and is the only bookstore in Rancho Santa Fe. And the guild coordinates author visits with Warwick’s bookstore.

Jung looks forward to getting to know the residents better and promoting some of the countywide library initiatives: citizenship classes, online library high school, and a gear up to kindergarten program.

“San Diego is so beautiful, the people are open and diverse,” Jung said. “And I’m so fortunate to be in Rancho Santa Fe where the people are friendly and nice. I am glad to give any way I can.” Stop by and say hello to Jung and find out where her next travel adventure will be.

The Rancho Santa Fe Library is located at 17040 Avenida de Acacias. For more information,  call (858) 756-2512 or visit Library Guild of Rancho Santa Fe,