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After 30 Years, San Diego Central Library Now Open To The Public

Evening Edition

Aired 9/30/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Mel Katz, Chair, SD Public Library Foundation

Rob Quigley, Architect, SD Central Library Design

Deborah Barrow, SD Public Library Director

Marcellus Turner, Seattle Librarian, oversees Seattle's Public Central Library

Dana Springs, SD Commission for Arts and Culture

Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize winning author, and 2013 One Book Selection, “Caleb’s Crossing"

Kimberly Bond, CEO Mental Health Systems, Outreach for Homeless at SD Central Library

Helen Griffith, Ph.D., Executive Director, e3 Civic High

Todd Gloria, Interim Mayor, City of San Diego


KPBS Midday Edition will broadcast live Monday, September. 30, 2013. from inside the grand lobby of the new San Diego Central Library.

The weekend was filled with inaugural ceremonies for the new library, but Monday is its first day open for business. San Diegans will be filing in to see and experience this new downtown landmark — and maybe even check out a book.

A dream 30 years in the making is now reality as the new San Diego Central Library opens its doors to the public. It seems the library has something for everyone from its massive lobby and exposed concrete, artwork, computers and — of course — books.

"We've got about 1.2 million items available for people to see," says San Diego Public Library Director Deborah Barrow.

Check Out The New Library

Photo by Neiko Will

Inside the Central Library.

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."

Evening Edition

Deborah Barrows, director of San Diego Public Libraries, sat down with Peggy Pico.

The new space houses the I CAN! Center for adults with disabilities. It went from two computers to 16. And 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.

Evening Edition

KPBS' Dwane Brown contributed to this story.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | September 30, 2013 at 11:42 a.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | September 30, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. ― 3 years, 5 months ago

San Diego is a large city that has been embarrassingly lacking in grand public structures.
Structures you enter and say "wow".
Structures that can't be built by private developers but that take a community effort.
I went yesterday and all I could think when I walked in is "this doesn't feel like San Diego. It feels like a real, world-class city".
It made me proud to live here.
It's way more than a library, it's a community center, and iconic landmark, and something that has completely transformed and revitalized the East Village.
A ballpark simply brings outsiders in for brief encounters to yell, drink, litter and act like frat boys.
This library, on the other hand, spurs creativity in the surrounding neighborhood and represents a public space local downtown residents will use. It is a good balance to the ballpark district.
As far as I'm concerned the internet trolls and political charlatans like Mr. DeMaio and others who tried to stop this all have egg on their face now.
This is a recognizable, iconic part of our city now.
Thanks to all who worked so hard to see this to fruition, it was sorely needed.

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