Central Library

The new San Diego Central Library officially opened its doors to the public on September 28, 2013, capping 3 years of construction, 17 years of planning, and 36 years of talking about it. The 500,000-square-foot structure boasts nine floors topped by a signature half dome, housing 1.25 million books and more than 1200 places to sit and read them. +more

Upcoming Events

  • Ransom Riggs: The Conference of the Birds

    Saturday, January 25, 4:00 p.m.

  • Hand Under Hand

    Thursday, January 30, 7:00 p.m.

  • Hand Under Hand

    Saturday, February 1, 2:00 p.m.

  • Swing Dance Under the Dome

    Monday, March 9, 6:30 p.m.

  • Swing Dance Under the Dome

    Monday, March 23, 6:30 p.m.


Day Hours
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday noon to 8 p.m.
Tuesday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday noon to 8 p.m.
Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email
  • Pin it


How did the new downtown library get approval from the Fire Department? From the 3rd floor up, if the elevators are shut down in a fire, there seems to be only one very narrow stairway that couldn't possibly handle a lot of panicking people, and no evacuation plans seem to be posted. What sort of architects build a stairway to nowhere on the outside, but don't provide an adequate stairway for emergency evacuations on the inside? Did the rich and powerful supporters of the new library manage to bribe the Fire Marshalls to pass inspection?

Also, with more than 400 computers, why are they still limiting people to one hour a day? How hard would it be to set us a computer in the lobby that would tell people where there are available computers and, in the extremely unlikely event that all are in use, allow people to reserve the next one that will become available? If they don't have even that much technology, it seems absurd to have computer technology labs. By way of contrast, the Coronado library only has about 15 computers, but patrons can get two one-hour sessions a day as long as they log off for a half hour between sessions in case anyone is waiting. With 400 computers, people should be allowed as much time as they wish unless somebody is waiting. The computers are networked, so I'm sure that the library could find a high school kid to write a program to track which computers are not in use so as to ensure that nobody who needs computer access is turned away.

Some closer bus stops would also be nice, particularly for older people who like to read and find it difficult to carry a lot of books for several blocks (like me and some of my friends and neighbors). If we're all supposed to buy e-readers and read only e-books, why build a library?

That said, I have to admit that the new library isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I also appreciate that it encourages the use of public transportation and discourages driving by only allowing one hour free parking, so that drivers who wish to watch a film or attend a concert will have to pay.

On my visit to the new Central Library building I was very much impressed with its size and design. In fact, I was so inspired I wrote a poem I am enclosing to celebrate the opening of this edifice. Many people I have spoken to have not visited the library. I would like to think the poem I am submitting might encourage them to visit the library and perhaps themselves write about the library.

I Hear San Diego Singing

(On the occasion of the opening of the new San Diego Central Library)

We sing to this monument/tower of the human spirit,

built by years of planning and sacrifice.

We celebrate democracy

At the tower's base, large verandas welcome all who thirst for knowledge.

Entrants are encouraged to explore this wondrous and illimitable world.

We sing to strength,

Tons of cement and steel, muscle, the walls, the pillars, the waffle decks, and the arches.

Huge metal plates music the winds.

These shelter the artifacts of a million writers, painters, and musicians, who, out of their life experiences, wrench meaning and melody.

We sing to openness.

Spacious windows look out over north, south, east, and west-sea, mountains, muncipality.

We celebrate the acolytes of learning,

thy librarians, who endow this huge structure with live.

At each slow dusk, the golden glow from this open dome

Reminds us of our song.

— Art Seamans, November 2013

Log in to comment

Skip Ad

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader