Librarian Bob Cronk: Scripps Ranch All the Way

Bob Cronk, the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library Center branch manager, is a happy man. He has a dream job and lives in a wonderful community where “country living” still exists. He remembers the feeling he had running through open spaces in Huntington Beach where he grew up and is glad his children have had that same “true Southern California experience.”

He always loved reading and going to libraries, but he never imagined he’d become a librarian. A football player in high school, he focused on athletics. After graduating from San Diego State University, he became an independent contractor, doing merchandising and organizing.

In 1990 fate redirected him. Looking into available city jobs, he found an opening for a half-time library assistant and has been in the San Diego Library system ever since. He worked up to full time and was director of the San Diego Bookmobile, a job he loved. “It was like driving an ice cream truck, children so glad to see you! People treated you like Santa Claus!”

He and his wife, Charlotte, a native of Sweden, were married in 1993. When looking around San Diego for a place to live, they drove through Scripps Ranch. Charlotte didn’t think they could manage living here, but the housing market was down. Charlotte spotted a Swedish flag outside a house, and it was settled. They moved into their new home in 1995.

In 2000 the Cronks went to Sweden with sons Aleksander and Nickolas for a year. “We were an intercultural family,” Bob said, “and we wanted to acquaint the boys with the other part of their heritage, learn the language. When we came back, I could speak a little Swedish too.”

Returning to San Diego in 2001, he became a library assistant at various branches, having been in the San Diego Public Library system for 10 years. His mother, the first person in her family to get a college education, had long urged him to get a master’s degree. When she became seriously ill, he was finally motivated.

Money would be a problem and time another. He worked a full-time job during the day and would be a full-time student at night. He informed his family that if he did this, he would have little time to spend with them. He investigated schools that had online courses, and Florida State University filled the bill. It waived the out-of-state cost, and Bob was able to pay the lower state tuition fee. Further, he’d be able to do everything online. The library was very supportive and allowed him to use his laptop during his breaks.

In 2005 he began his online study and discovered chat rooms. He liked the idea of exchanging ideas with people you never saw but could appreciate for their intelligence and the beauty of their words. In 2007 he got his Master of Library and Information Science. He became collections development librarian for the San Diego Public Library and went on to become the Ocean Beach Library’s branch manager.

When he was offered the position in Scripps Ranch, he didn’t hesitate. “This is the finest library I’ve ever worked in,” he said. “The staff is knowledgeable and knows what it is doing. The SR Friends of the Library are incredibly helpful, with people like Joan Reese, a full-time pediatrician who does publicity for the SRFOL and runs its biggest fundraiser, Grace’s Book Nook. Her husband, Bob’s, beautiful woodworking adorns the library.” Kay Little and Marilyn Pelton tell him about the early days of the library, with Marilyn’s pictures documenting them.

Bob enjoys walking around Evans Pond and to Miramar Lake when he has a break. The library and the ducks on the pond have formed a relationship. “One time a duck got into the courtyard and couldn’t be coaxed out. Library staffer Agnes, sort of our animal keeper, came out and got at one end of the duck, and I was at the other. We finally got him out!” Bob laughed.

He’s proud of the many fine programs in the library center when he arrived, and the many that have been added since. They are highlighted each month in the Organizations section of the SRCA Newsletter. He loved being at the recent 20th anniversary of the Scripps Ranch Library and seeing how people enjoy the facility.

Outside of the library, Bob, the resident, joins in the spirit of Scripps Ranch. His first volunteer endeavor was helping coach Nickolas’ Pop Warner football team. He now serves as a Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) district representative for District 14, having been recruited when spotted attending SRCA meetings. He thinks it might have been his SRCA participation that impelled him to call the city promptly when he encountered a hazardous lifted up section of sidewalk. The city took care of it in a week.

With Aleksander in college and Nickolas almost out of high school, Bob looks forward to spending more time with his beautiful wife, Charlotte. Happy with their choice of where to raise a family, Bob says, “We are grateful to be here.”

He looks forward to the opening of the Central Library in September. He also hopes people will take advantage of the branch libraries, especially the one here. “We want to show them what we’ve got. Scripps Ranch is one of those communities that knows what a library is all about.”

Bob is easily accessible at a desk near the library’s entrance. You also can reach him through the San Diego Public Library website or his Facebook page.

Elinor Reiss