Friends of Ocean Beach Library Gear Up Campaign to Get Branch Back on City Expansion List

by on January 21, 2015 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Education, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego


The meeting of the Friends of the OB Library, Jan. 20, 2015, inside the library. Going around the table clock-wise, beginning at “7 o’clock”; Laura Dennison, Alice Nodes, Judy Collier, president, Matt Beatty, Branch Manager,Tony Cataldo, Suzi More, Mary Cairns, George Murphy, Ellen Liversidge (in green, only her arms showing in this picture), Maureen Roeber, Paula Robertson and MaryAnn Small Capistrano.

History of OB’s Efforts to Have Branch Upgraded or Expanded

The Friends of the OB Library are not happy. They’ve been working to get the local branch back on the city’s library expansion list for awhile now, but the recent news that the Ocean Beach Library is not on the list was upsetting to many of them.

So, the committee of about a dozen OBceans, with women outnumbering men 6 to 1, headed by Judy Collier, decided at their monthly meeting yesterday, Jan. 20, to gear up their campaign. They will continue to push their petition that they have been circulating to drum up support for the expansion – they already have more than 500 signatures; they’ll continue to meet with politicians and library staff in efforts to press their concerns.

Members of the committee will be attending the upcoming OB Town Council meeting with Councilwoman Lorie Zapf to show their support for the expansion.  Some of them had given Ms. Zapf a tour of the library last Fall.

In their quest to gain support for expanding the current 4800 square foot facility, originally built in 1923, the Friends of the local branch have garnered quite a list of endorsements. Mayor Faulconer supports the expansion, as does California Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

On the village level, most every group is behind the Friends’ efforts, the OB Planning Board, the Town Council, the OB Historical Society, the local PTA. Expanding the library is the number one priority on the OB Public Facilities Financing Plan, approved by the City Council when they approved the OB Community Plan Update last summer.

This writer also attended the meeting and gave some historical notes to the committee to inform them of actions by the OB Planning Board years ago in support. Those notes – plus additional ones provided by the committee are presented below.

Some History of Efforts to Expand – Upgrade the OB Library

  • The Ocean Beach Precise Plan’s goals for the library called for “the maintenance and periodic expansion of this local depository of public library resources.” – Plan adopted by the City Council on July 3, 1975.
  • The “Ocean Beach Action Plan”, approved by the City Council on August 3, 1999, had community goal number 6 of Public Facilities and Services, the “Improved library facilities, with the historic integrity fo the existing building preserved.”
  • Sometime in the year 2000, the OB Planning Board passed a resolution in support of the expansion of the library.
  • During 2001-2002, the OB Planning Board was presented with drawings and a 3-dimensional model of a 2-story 20,000 square foot expanded library for the community; and approved the design.
  • At a June 5, 2002 meeting of the Planning Board, the representative for then-Councilman Byron Wear urged OB residents to send letters of support for the “OB Library Upgrade/ Expansion” to the City Council, who told the audience that the OB branch was the “next branch to be developed,” and that it was “next” on the funding list.
  • At that same meeting on 6/5/2002, board member Mindy Pellissier made a motion, seconded by Priscilla McCoy, to have the Board send a letter to the City Council immediately in full support of the OB Library upgrade and expansion. It passed 9 to 1. Pellissier had stated during the meeting that there was already state funding, but that the project just needed to be pushed forward.
  • During the discussion, it was noted that the design had been approved by a prior Board, and that the original 1923 building would be kept as a meeting area, with the new building to be built utilizing the land where the ARCO used to be and the attorneys’ offices on the west.
  • The original design plan for the expanded facility included the gas station next door, as noted, which would have been used as a parking lot and garden; it was to be two stories, and with a total of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. (The design actually won a national American Institute of Architects award in 2010.)
  • (Exact date unknown) The next door property, known as the Gee Building, after attorney David Gee, was purchased with HUD money, in anticipation of adding it as part of the upgrade. The property has since been remortgaged but is within the library’s assets inventory.
  • (Exact date unknown) The gas station owner tripled his price, plus the city determined the gas plume underneath was too much to deal with, so the idea of buying the gas station land was dropped.
  • A new design was made, which called for a one-story, 14,000 square foot facility. (Exact date unknown)
  • The new design was passed by the Coastal Commission, as it had no new parking lot expansion. (Exact date unknown)
  • 2008 – Mayor Jerry Sanders calls for closing OB branch; community responds with series of rallies; Sander relents.
  • Library roof re-shingled in 2012; also renovations included re-carpeting, repainting updated window treatments and new linoleum floor.
  • Expansion of OB Library placed at top of Public Facilities Financing Plan by OB Planning Board, approved by City Council, July 26, 2014.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Collier January 21, 2015 at 3:50 pm

Hi Frank,
Thank you for an excellent article! I really appreciate your citations of previous efforts to expand. I have already received one positive, supportive telephone call in response to this article. I would encourage interested supporters to contact Council Member Lorie Zapf at and to consider becoming a member of the Ocean Beach Friends of the Library (or at least getting on our mailing list). Applications are available at the OB Library’s front desk, 4810 Santa Monica Ave. Or send me an email at Thanks again, Frank, for your outstanding article!
Judy Collier, President
Ocean Beach Friends of the Library


Bridget January 21, 2015 at 5:50 pm

Thanks for the timeline, Frank, and thanks for giving Lorie Zapf’s contact information, Judy. I will email her immediately.

What unearthly reason or reasons could have made City Council renege on its almost unanimous vote to upgrade/expand our library 13 years ago, do you imagine? I hope that Lorie, as our councilperson now, will become our strongest champion forthwith and that we will be able to get this project done in a really – finally- fashion now. The O.B. Library serves a real and varied community need, and could serve us all even more with expanded space and facilities.

Here’s hoping our town will join in actively to make this a reality before another 13 years pass by.


Frank Gormlie January 21, 2015 at 9:57 pm

We’ll be posting the Friends’ Petition so people can download it and sign it on Thursday.


Old Hippie January 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Thanks. I can just download it into my own computer.


Molly January 22, 2015 at 4:07 pm

Who are the lovely ladies around that table?


editordude January 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

Laura Dennison, Alice Nodes, Judy Collier, President, Matt Beatty, Branch Manager,
Tony Cataldo, Suzi More, Mary Cairns, George Murphy, Ellen Liversidge (in green, only her arms showing in this picture), Maureen Roeber, Paula Robertson, and MaryAnn Small Capistrano.


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