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

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

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 caption: Inside the  Central 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."

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

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.

Video by Nicholas Mcvicker

KPBS' Dwane Brown contributed to this story.

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