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Take A Sneak Peek At San Diego’s New Central Library

Evening Edition

Aired 9/26/13 on KPBS News.

The new San Diego Central Library is more than just books and computers, and this weekend, San Diegans can check it out for themselves.

In downtown San Diego next to Petco Park is the highlight of a San Diego dream 30 years in the making: Welcome to the library of the future.

With its massive lobby and exposed concrete, the new San Diego Central Library has something for everyone, said San Diego Public Library Director Deborah Barrow.

"We've got about 1.2 million items available for people to see," she said.

From a video wall dedicated to scenic shots of San Diego to the large reading space dubbed the People's Penthouse, visitors can relax and gather at the base of the library's iconic dome. Built out of steel, the top was purposely left open to signify knowledge and enlightenment. The place is also filled with various artwork commissioned by the city — even the restroom basins resemble an open book.

In addition to a fancy new space, Barrow said services are improved in the new building as well.

"There's an automated materials handling system. There's faster more accurate self-check machines," she said. "And computers throughout the library — we've got 300 or more in this library for people to use free of charge."

The new space houses the I CAN! Center for adults with disabilities. It went from two computers to 16. (A center for kids is in the works.)

There's also the Foster Teen Center, which is three times the size of the old space and offers young adults room to study or take a break and hang out.

San Diegans can get a preview this Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m, and the library officially opens its doors on Monday.

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