Image 38: Case Del Prado

Image 39: Casa del Prado, Balboa Park

Pursuant to Prop. A, the new San Diego Public Library was to be built on the same site as the existing library.  Between June 1952 and June 1954, after the Carnegie library was demolished and before the new library was completed, San Diego Public Library was housed in the Casa del Prado Building in San Diego’s Balboa Park (Amero).  Despite the beautiful façade of the Casa del Prado, City Librarian Breed described the temporary accommodations as “a vast empty barn-like structure divided into three enormous rooms with very high ceilings. There was almost no plumbing, no heat, and limited lighting . . . The building was populated with an amazing assortment of wildlife — squirrels, bees, doves, flies, lost cats and dogs, lizards, fleas, termites, spiders and mice” (id.).  Regardless of the internal maladies of the building, the location was beautiful.  

Image 37: Opening Day of San Diego Public Library 1954

After two years of construction, the new San Diego Public Library was opened, below is a picture of the crowds waiting to enter the new library on opening day.   In addition to building the new Central Library, between 1950 and 1970, “17 of the Library’s present 21 branch libraries were constructed, 2 others enlarged and refurbished, and another acquired by annexation” (Breed, 1970). 

The Central Library opened in 1954 is still the main library in San Diego.  There are now 35 branch libraries, a collection of over 3.4 million books and audio-visual materials, over 4000 periodical subscriptions, 1.6 government documents and over 250,000 books in languages other than English (San Diego Public Library, 2007 Mission, Strategic Goals, Objectives and Performance Measures).   By the 1970s, the San Diego Public Library had again outgrown its space.  In 2002, which was the 50 year anniversary of the destruction of the Carnegie library, the City of San Diego approved the construction of a new central library.  It is scheduled to be completed in 2013.  

Image 40: Proposed New Central Library Image

Image 41: Proposed Floor Plan For New Public Library

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