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San Diego Central Library Proves Popular For Special Events

Inside the  Central Library.
Neiko Will
Inside the Central Library.

More than 70 special events were held at San Diego's new Central Library through January, and about 70 more are reserved through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, according to a report delivered to the City Council's Budget Committee on Wednesday.

Events since the library's Sept. 30 opening have included weddings, author talks, luncheons, concerts and bar and bat mitzvahs, generating $41,000 in revenue so far, according to the report.

Library director Deborah Barrow said she expects another $100,000 in income by June 30.


The library, near Petco Park, has seven spaces for events, ranging from the lobby to the Shiley Special Events Suite, which has sweeping views from the ninth floor.

“The demand for these spaces has been very high and it is anticipated that the Central Library will continue to be one of the most sought-after spaces for special events in San Diego,” Barrow said.

According to Barrow, 10 requests for information on holding weddings at the library are coming in each month, with 35 marriage ceremonies booked for this year. One wedding has already been scheduled for 2016, she said.

Barrow conceded library staffers had a few kinks, trying to decide which types of events best fit particular spaces. She said schedules were adjusted to make sure enough employees were on duty for events.

Other challenges have been balancing library services with special event demands, addressing customer expectations of low fees or free use and coordinating permitting with other city departments, she said.


Barrow said staffers were consulting with a an event planner and might hire one.

With about 2,500 visits daily, maintenance is a concern, according to Barrow, who said more people were being hired.

The committee received the report but took no action regarding library operations.