San Diego approves Library Master Plan

The vision includes the development of three new library branches plus renovations and expansions of existing public libraries.

Image by the entrance of the San Diego Central Library

We’ve overdue for a trip to the library.

Image by Michael Beausoleil + SDtoday

Table of Contents

San Diego Public Library (SDPL) has taken steps to rewrite its future. San Diego City Council has approved the San Diego Library Master Plan (LMP) — a long-range vision for improvements to facilities, programming, and technology. With approval in the books, let’s check out some of the plan’s biggest changes.

The synopsis

The LMP is the first plan of its kind adopted since 2002 and focuses on making libraries experiential, effective, and equitable — and expanding the facilities everywhere, including the digital realm. Branches are grouped into six “planning zones” to ensure efforts are spread evenly across SD communities.

Using community feedback, the plan outlines service needs through 2040. “Vision 2040" highlights objectives for all 36 SDPL branches — 37 when the Pacific Highlands Ranch Library opens next year — and larger goals for each planning zone.

Rendering of the Pacific Highland Library

The future Pacific Highlands Ranch Library.

Rendering via City of San Diego

The next chapters

By 2040, the plan aims to add three entirely new, 25,000-sqft libraries to benefit areas with the greatest needs. These branches are:

  • Proposed for the Mira Mesa area to serve “Zone A.”
  • Proposed in the Clairemont Mesa area to serve “Zone B.”
  • Proposed in the Otay Mesa area to serve the growing population in South Bay and border communities in “Zone G.”

The vision also calls for eight libraries to be replaced, which will increase their square footage: Allied Gardens, Kensington-Normal Heights, North Park, Oak Park, Paradise Hills, San Carlos, University Community, and University Heights. Additional branches will also receive expansions.

The epilogue

Each library has individual plans, so timelines differ by branch; all proposals are outlined in the LMP. However, city budgets will need to increase funding to make this vision a reality — it’s estimated libraries will need $125 million per year.

If projects stick to the Vision 2040 recommendations, SDPL’s cumulative square footage will increase by ~65%.

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