La Mesa Reads: Resources for El Niño preparation at the library

Posted: December 25th, 2015 | Arts & Entertainment, Featured, La Mesa Reads | No Comments

By Heather Pisani-Kristl

Many Americans resolve to lose weight, become more physically fit, or learn a skill at the start of the New Year. Have you considered family disaster planning for your new year’s resolution? As I write this, meteorologists and public safety agencies have been warning for several months about a significant El Niño effect in Southern California, characterized by unusually warm Pacific Ocean temperatures and higher-than-average precipitation. It’s dry right now, but residents are being told to prepare themselves for flooding, coastal storm erosion and possible landslides. As your community information center, the La Mesa Library offers these links and titles for your preparedness:

Find one-stop disaster preparedness at ReadySanDiego:

The County of San Diego and local cities offer sandbags, checklists, flood control maps and webcams, and other important components in safety planning. For many reasons besides flooding, consider enrolling your cell or home phone number in AlertSanDiego, the County’s regional emergency notification system. All of these links are available on the ReadySanDiego site. The City of La Mesa also offers emergency preparedness links on its website at (look under Residents→Emergency Preparedness).

Read some magazine articles at home:

How is El Niño expected to affect California? Find out by doing a magazine search on the County Library’s website. Searching the General OneFile database with the words “El Niño California” brings up a list of full-length articles from magazines as diverse as The Economist and Ski. Your county library card and PIN (typically the last four digits of your phone number) are required if you’re searching from home or on a mobile device.


“The Age of Miracles” is a ‘Cli-Fi’ novel that takes place in San Diego (Courtesy of the La Mesa Library)

Enjoy a fictional version of climate disaster:

Sometimes known as “Cli-Fi,” climate change in speculative fiction has been growing in popularity. Novelist Kim Stanley Robinson has been writing about the changing earth for years. His last fictional disaster scenario, “Sixty Days and Counting,” outlines the political repercussions of global warming and environmental instability. “The Water Knife” by Paolo Bacigalupi casts California as the evil empire against Arizona, whose citizens lost the war for water rights and are paying Chinese corporations for access to aquifers that lie beneath their feet. Other authors writing for the disaster genre include Michael Crichton (“State of Fear”) and Margaret Atwood (“Oryx and Crake,” “The Year of the Flood” and “MaddAddam”). Don’t forget “The Age of Miracles” by Karen Walker, which takes place in San Diego County as the earth’s rotation slows and high tides swallow Del Mar. Even if El Niño turns out to be more like a passing rain shower, you can still get your adrenaline pumping with any one of these titles.

Upcoming at the Library:


Author Cindy Pon will speak to the Teen Book Club at the La Mesa Library on Jan. 19. (Courtesy of the La Mesa Library)

Tell the teens in your life about a special author visit happening at La Mesa Library this month. On Tuesday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 p.m., the Teen Book Club is discussing “Serpentine” by Cindy Pon, and the author will be present for questions.

This local author’s latest story takes readers on a fantastical journey through friendship and Chinese mythology in the mythical Kingdom of Xia. In Pon’s words, “Skybright has been a handmaid and companion to her mistress her entire life. She is pragmatic and hardworking, until one night she wakes to find the lower half of her body has morphed into a long serpentine coil. This changes what she thought she knew about herself and her life forever.”

“Serpentine” received a starred review from School Library Journal, which indicates a book of merit for young readers. This special event is for teens only. Please contact the library at 619-469-2151 to let us know if your teen will be attending.

––Heather Pisani-Kristl is branch manager of the La Mesa Library. Write to her at

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