The New Central Library will be a civic icon embodying a commitment to literacy and information.
About the Project
To support the New Central Library, click the button below.
Construction continues on San Diego's new center for literacy and learning with the grand opening of the New Central Library in July of 2013. Visit here to read more about the latest on New Central Library construction.
A new heart for the San Diego Public Library system
Branch libraries are the heart of each community, and the Central Library is the heart of the City’s 35-branch Library system, providing resources, collections, expertise and reference support. A healthy New Central Library is essential to a healthy branch system.
Significant private donations coupled with designated funding that can only be used for this project, make building and operating the New Central Library within reach, without using one cent from the City of San Diego’s General Fund.
Funding for the $184.9 million project is secure with funds from the State Library, Centre City Development, the San Diego Unified School District and private donors. An additional $10 million in private funds has been donated to cover additional operating costs.
A landmark building meeting San Diego' s needs
The New Central Library will be a new civic icon that embodies San Diego's commitment to the future. It will serve the community’s needs for literacy, information and knowledge in the 21st century.
The New Central Library is a nine-story building of flexible spaces with diverse and accessible public amenities. Bay view terraces, roof gardens and a public reading room reflect and celebrate San Diego's natural beauty and temperate climate. The Library's spaces are designed to open, inviting patrons to explore or relax with a new-found book. Special features include a flexible Special Events room on the ninth floor, a state-of-the-art auditorium, and a beautiful reading room under the lattice dome—creating a unique and extraordinary facility.
The design allows the New Central Library to fulfill its crucial role as the heart of the 35-branch system--with space to provide literacy, children's and adult programs, disabled access, technology and web-based services, and answers to reference questions from throughout the region. For more information on the need for the new Central Library, visit here.
A needed downtown school
An exciting new 76,000-square-foot charter high school is planned for the unused sixth and seventh floors of the Library. The unique and special access students will enjoy to vast research, reference and technology resources will be unparalleled. ditional high school capacity downtown.
The school will be independent from the Library with its own dedicated ground-level entrance and lobby, its own circulation system, its own elevators and stairwell. The charter high school builds upon the Library’s role as a regional learning center and is one of more than 57 schools and learning centers within two and a half miles of the New Central Library that will benefit from an after-hours homework center with collections, electronic resources, tutoring and a volunteer program to support students’ homework and project needs. For more on the planned high school, visit here. The Downtown Charter High School website can be found here.
A new cultural center
The New Central Library will be a community hub where San Diegans will come to learn, read, use the latest technology and discuss critical issues. It also will be a new cultural destination for great music and significant art. Art at the New Central Library will take center stage in two programs:
San Diego Public Library’s Visual Arts Program
Over the past decade, the Library’s Visual Arts Program has been one of the system’s most decorated and highly-visible efforts. The Programs' exhibits have a profound impact on the local arts community and the thousands of San Diegans newly exposed to museum-quality visual arts. The opening of the New Central Library, with its Art Gallery and the Sculpture Garden, provides dramatic new opportunities for students to participate in art education and appreciation experiences.
The Art Gallery will provide unique access to museum-quality works by San Diego-area artists. Amenities include state-of-the-art lighting, climate control and movable walls to enhance the space’s flexibility.
Inspired by the magnificent Roof Garden at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Sculpture Courtyard is an ivy-covered open-air garden with a rotating display of sculptures from renowned San Diego-area artists. Clusters of seating and soaring downtown views make it an ideal space for intimate events or for individual contemplation.
For the Library Visual Arts Program's website, visit here. For more information on the Visual Arts Program at the New Central Library, visit here.
New Central Library Public Art
Public art is central to all San Diego Public Library capital projects and the New Central Library was designed with site-specific pieces from internationally-recognized artists. An open call for artists in 2002 from the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture attracted hundreds of submissions. Following a competitive review process, an expert panel recommended inspiring concepts for the New Central Library. For more information on the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, visit VibrantCultureVibrantCity.com.
Einar & Jamex de la Torre — Elevator Bay Based in San Diego and Ensenada, México, the de la Torre brothers are internationally recognized for vivid, ornate sculptures made of glass and found objects. Their project is sited in the first floor center elevator bay and is designed to immerse visitors in the experience of a mythical “time machine” as the elevator travels from floor to floor. The sculptural appliqués and wall-embedded dioramas draw influence from the Aztec calendar, Asian mandalas and Middle Eastern design motifs. For a biography on the de la Torre brothers and examples of their work, visit here.
Donald Lipski — Auditorium Lipski is recognized for transforming everyday objects into dramatic sculptures. This piece covers one auditorium wall, edge-to-edge with surplus books and a fine wire mesh. The artwork provides the added benefit of sound absorption. For a biography of Donald Lipski and examples of his work, visit here.
Roy McMakin — Reading Room McMakin’s work blurs the boundaries between art, architecture and design. He will collect chairs in San Diego and return to his Seattle workshop to re-create them using all new materials. Each unique chair will be upholstered in grey leather, unifying the pieces visually. Library visitors will be able to distinguish “their” special chair from all the rest as they return again and again to enjoy the spectacular Reading Room. For examples of Roy McMakin's work, visit here.
The Library will offer far greater collections, parking, computers, amenities and public areas than the existing facility. The New Central Library will be a technology center, offering San Diegans equal, free access. It will help close the ‘digital divide’ with more than 400 computer workstations, available laptops, spaces for teaching the use of new technology and free WiFi access. The New Central Library will also be a community space where San Diegans can gather to celebrate culture, hear great music, appreciate art work and discuss critical issues. Downtown San Diego, the region’s fastest growing area, is the logical spot for a civic space of this scope and versatility.
For a floor-by-floor cross-section of the new library, visit here.