June Frost has been a very active member of the community for the past 12 years since she took the position of branch manager at the Imperial Beach Branch Library. Frost had never heard of Imperial Beach until she was offered the job.
One day before her official visit to the city, she took a sick day from her job and came down to see Imperial Beach. She recalls that she went to the Wave Cafe and started talking to a woman who praised Imperial Beach and talked to her at length. That person was former Councilwoman Lorie Bragg. But Frost hadn’t known that until she attended a council meeting and saw her on the dais.
“I give her full credit for me taking the job,” said Frost.
Libraries were in Frost’s blood since a young age. Originally from Redlands, California, she started working as a page at her elementary school library once a week, shelving and cleaning books. “I always liked libraries, they are a sanctuary, a place for kids to hang out,” she said.
At the time, she was picked on because of her weight and she felt safe in the library. When she was in junior high, Frost worked at A.K. Smiley Public Library in Redlands as a reference page taking care of archival and reference materials.
Although she has worked at libraries most of her life there was a time when Frost was working part-time both at Smiley Public Library as a page and at McDonald’s to pay her school bills. “I was the top drive through person of the year in San Bernardino County,” she said.
She went to Community College then attended Humboldt State where she worked at the library in acquisitions and selection of books. She later received a bachelor in English and Linguistics. From there she worked at Corona Public Library as a Library Specialist doing story time and as a reference supervisor.
In 2008 Frost attended the Minnesota Public Library Association Conference and she interviewed with the San Diego County Library system and she was offered a job. Frost was two months shy of finishing a Master’s degree from North Texas State. Frost credits a mentor at the Corona library for pushing her to get a Master’s Degree.
Frost was happy to be offered a job at a small library. “I’ll be honest, I wanted to have a small library. You get to know the community,” she said.
During the second week at her job in Imperial Beach, Frost was asked to go to headquarters and met Lee Pontes, the director of San Diego County Library at the time. He told her, “June I want you to build us a library,” she recalled him saying.
“Gosh they do need a new library,” she thought to herself.
Pontes then told her, “You may want to start taking notes.”
Although Frost played a big role in the new library she is humble. “I was on the team that made the selection. There are so many hands in the cookie jar…I was the salesman for it. If the city and the community didn’t want it, it wouldn’t have happened,” she said.
The planning, and later the construction, of the library took some time because of funding. The funding was eventually solved by Supervisor Greg Cox who was able to secure the money.
Frost said she was grateful to the Boys & Girls Club for allowing the use of rooms in its building and allowing the library to continue to operate at the temporary site during the construction, which lasted for two years.
Adapting from the original small library she was hired to manage, to the much bigger one that was built later was a challenge in terms of time. A bigger library meant more programs and responsibilities so she had less time to be involved in programs like CERT and attend council meetings.
“I’m very proud of the programs at the library, we have increased staff, they come up with ideas,” she said. The library has hosted events like Dress for Success, which provided clothes for job interviews and help with resumes and a citizenship class, as well as, cross border events like One Book One San Diego with Tijuana residents. The library is also the site for exercise classes with a belly dancing and a fitness class in the community room.
Over the years one of the challenges for Frost has been that her staff keeps promoting up and leaving. “You can’t keep staff from promoting…” she said.
Frost has been an avid reader all her life and most people don’t know that she studied British Medieval history since the age of 10 and has quite a collection of books on the topic at home. She looks forward to trips to England and France. “My favorite pastime is reading historical fiction and biographies,” she said. Frost is a regular at Renaissance fairs and has a number of costumes.
Two years ago Frost married her husband Doug, who is an attorney. “He is a member of Kiwanis International and I’m also a member… a common friend set us up,” she said.
“I have over 30 years of service credit, being newly wed and older, we want to do things while we still can,” said Frost of her reasons for retiring. “My mother is also not in good health… You’ll still see me around. I consider [Imperial Beach] my hometown.”
Frost lived in Imperial Beach until she married and moved to Tierrasanta. Frost may even be seen at the library once in a while as a sub. In the interim Jose’ Enriquez will take the reins of the library.
“I was happy when I first came down here. What a great opportunity. I felt like I won the lottery when they offered me the job, it couldn’t have been a better fit,” she said.
Frost said she will miss Imperial Beach. “I love Imperial Beach. I love being in this town and will miss the daily contact with residents,” she said.