It still feels like August in the Sahara Desert outside, but summer, and with it year two of our beachside pop-up library series, SMPL at the Beach, are officially over. Over the course of five pop-ups we had 1,038 visitors, 243 attendees at Seaside Story Times, and we signed out 219 books.

In an effort to recreate the variety of educational and recreational programs we offer at our Main and branch libraries, we expanded the range of activities offered at SMPL at the Beach to include ukulele lessons, steel drumming, a bird watching trip with the Santa Monica Audubon Society, and an introductory tai chi class. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium returned to two pop-ups this summer, bringing attention grabbing oceanic artifacts like shark jaws, a gray whale rib and an otter pelt for kids to examine.

Thanks to funding generously provided by the Friends of the Santa Monica Public Library, we were able to make enhancements to beach library infrastructure, allowing us transform our monochromatic canopy and folding tables into a vibrant, tropical paradise. These improvements included the purchase of bocce ball and ladder toss sets, higher quality decorations, and more comfortable beach chairs. A combination of Friends’ funds and donations of custom printed materials from the Library Foundation of Santa Monica allowed us to hand out unique, limited edition SMPL at the Beach branded giveaways at each of our pop-ups, including beach towels, trucker hats, water bottles, Frisbees and sunglasses.

Thank you to everyone who worked hard to make SMPL at the Beach 2016 successful! We couldn’t have done it without all of your help. Hope to see you on the beach next summer!