OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Home deliveries have skyrocketed during the pandemic, which got a local library thinking. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Oceanside where book lovers are stealing a page out of Amazon's playbook.
"This is where we check out the books," said Sam Liston.
He's the masked man, who runs the Oceanside Public Library prefers to be called, "The Library Wizard," he said with a big grin. Last March, when many libraries across the state decided to close for the entirety of the pandemic Sam spotted an opportunity. People started reading more than ever.
"Some people have some time on their hands now," said Sam.
The Library Wizard decided to not only stay open but double down with home deliveries, which have been such a success the library had to create a new workflow and conveyor system to keep up with demand. Oceanside residents can order a book, or a DVD, or a CD and it's free.
"Exactly, it's kind of like Amazon except you don't have to pay for anything," said Sam.
It's not just classic books and movies; residents also order music from a collection that ranges from Taylor Swift, to the musical Hamilton to Britney Spears. When it comes to television shows this would be the perfect chance to watch all 122 episodes of Lost which residents can check out as well.
When the items are returned from the public, they are placed in this room for a minimum of four-day quarantine where they are cleaned and sanitized if needed.
The Oceanside Public Library has a brightly colored van that they are using for home deliveries.
"Oh, I get waves you know driving down the neighborhood," said Jorge Garcia, the Senior Library Assistant who said the pandemic didn't cancel reading.
"We are probably doing between 60 and 70 deliveries a day," said Jorge.
Or as the Library wizard puts it, a magical reading spell he hopes will never be broken.
"I've been out there driving and when you've got this box of books and you are carrying it to these kids who are sitting in a garage bored all day because their parents are working from home and I hear these voices say, 'Yeah library books', I mean that's what we got in this whole library business for," said Sam who believes Oceanside is the only library system in the county providing this service.
"We've heard a couple of places in LA County might be delivering but I don't think they are doing it as well as we are," said Sam.
I reminded him, "Well, you are the wizard."
His face lit up again as he announced, "I am the wizard."
Anyone can get an Oceanside Library card and visit. But the deliveries are for the city's residents only.
For information, visit their website by clicking here.