The weeks have flown by, and it feels like just yesterday that an enthusiastic group of SLA-SD members and friends headed to the San Diego Central Library for a guided tour of the new space on March 20. Though most public tours of the library are led by volunteers, we were lucky enough to be treated to a tour led by several San Diego Public Library staff members, who gave us the inside scoop on library work and all the planning that went into the state of the art facility.
The building’s architecture, art, inviting spaces, creative programming, and more combine into what is now a welcoming and busy space for San Diegans looking to read, research, use computers, hold and attend special programs, explore, and more. Several spaces stood out to many of our tour-goers, perhaps most notably including the automated book sorting room, equipped with a “smart” conveyer belt mechanism that is able to sort returned books into bins by subject as well as library branches. The children’s and teen’s library spaces were also well received, with bright colors and innovative spaces, including a teen gaming room, children’s craft area, and much more than may be expected from an average library. The library also has an IDEA (Innovation & Digital Expression Activity) Lab, equipped with 10 high-end computers with an array of technical software as well as two 3-D printers available for public use.
Our tour group was also excited to see two library special collections areas. One, the Marilyn and Gene Mark Special Collections room, houses the library’s California Collection, including several display cases exhibiting pieces of San Diego history. The other, the Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, includes rotating feature items from what is the second largest baseball research collection in the United States, after the Baseball Hall of Fame. The library is also home to a small art gallery that exhibits work by local artists.
Aside from the innovative and expansive library resources, the group was also impressed to see the building’s various special event facilities, including a state-of-the-art auditorium and theater space, courtyard, rooftop terraces, and sizable Shiley Special Events Suite. Perhaps one of the most iconic spaces in the building, the Helen Price reading room, with study space, vaulted ceilings, and a panoramic view of the city beyond, is also available for events.
Though the tour was thorough, I think we all agreed that it will be best to revisit the Central Library on our own soon to explore its spaces in more depth. There is much more to see than an hour-long tour can offer!
If you weren’t able to make it in person, take a chance to browse through a collection of photo highlights.
Interested in more details? Peruse the SDPL’s own floor by floor description of the Central Library: SDPL_Central Library_Floor by Floor Guide