A crafty group of local artists have made one local public library extra cozy by “yarn bombing” trees, lights, utility boxes and planters around the site.
Earlier this month, a community group called “Get Cozy With a Good Book at Your Library” decked out the outdoor space surrounding the San Diego Public Library Rancho Penasquitos Branch at 13330 Salmon River Rd. with bright creations in an act known as “yarn bombing."
The street art movement, popular for the past 10 years or so, involves decorating public spaces and streets with knitted or crocheted items that resemble cozy little sweaters. Those knits are often wrapped around trees, signs and poles, giving the space a cute, cozy vibe.
For the yarn bombing at the Rancho Penasquitos library, the group called upon community members to help knit, crochet and decorate. The idea was first hatched in October 2015, and most of the knitting and crocheting was completed this past January and February.
In all, 15 people created the knitted and crocheted items for the library, including three library staffers, one volunteer, four Rancho Penasquitos residents and many members of a knit and crochet circle that regularly meets at the library.
A team of three library staffers and about a dozen community members help put the art on display in mid-March. Six trees, five power cubes and six light bollards were among the items decked out in yarn during the two-hour installation process. The art will be on display there for the next four to six months or so.
The group posted photos of their finished artwork on Facebook.
On the neighborhood social media app, Nextdoor, many residents gave thanks to the group for the public artwork.
“We loved them!!! Beautiful work!!” said one resident.
“Fabulous!” said another local.
Ina Gibson, Youth Services Librarian at the Rancho Penasquitos Branch Library, tells NBC 7 the community response to the project has been extremely positive.
“It was a great community effort and the installation was great fun,” she said.
Gibson said many library patrons have told her the new knitted artwork makes them "happy" and she has seen many people go out of their way to stop and touch or admire the pieces.
“I have seen small children hug and ‘pet’ some of the pieces. This morning folks were sitting on our covered cement cubes, reading, while waiting for the library to open,” Gibson said.
“Community members have taken a detour while walking their dogs to take a stroll along the walkway closest to the covered items. Almost everyone’s face changes as they approach the library – looks of wonder, awe, and joy appear and more patrons enter the library smiling,” she added.
The Get Cozy With a Book at Your Library group is working its way through San Diego’s public libraries.
In July 2015, the group yarn bombed the Carmel Mountain Ranch Branch library in a similar, colorful manner – even knitting a sweater for a bike rack at that site, among many other creations.
Some of those pieces used to decorate other libraries were repurposed for the Rancho Penasquitos library project, Gibson said.
“So there were a number of other knitters whose work is represented here,” she explained. “We will pass on anything that may be useable. We received several bags and boxes of pieces from past installations and we will send anything useable to the next library.”
Gibson said the group has their sights set on yarn bombing another local library this fall, but details of that project are still being worked out.
Gibson believes yarn bombing has become a fun phenomenon because it gives passionate knitting and crocheting artists a chance to share their passion and create something beautiful for their community.
“This was a very visual representation of the library’s mission; demonstrating how the Library serves the community and provides an outlet to promote life-long learning,” Gibson said. “We are fortunate that our community has always been very supportive of our library services and programs – creating this art was a way that the community could demonstrate its love for the library, and its users, in a physical way.”
“Rancho Penasquitos definitely got a little cozier,” she added.
Along the way, Gibson said the knitting and crocheting artists have really stretched themselves creatively.
“For several of us the items we created were the largest and/or most complicated things we had every done,” Gibson said.
Around San Diego, many communities have joined in the yarn bombing phenomenon over the years, including Hillcrest and Kensington.