The Ocean Beach Library Was on the Original Expansion List

by on January 15, 2015 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Education, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

OBLibrarysignsVeteran Librarian Advises OBceans on How to Get OB Branch Back on the List

By Anna Daniels

Here’s some historical info that may be helpful in presenting your case to Councilwoman Zapf, Mayor Faulconer AND new library director Misty Jones:

“In 2002, the City Council approved a program to build or improve 24 libraries throughout San Diego, including a New Central library.”

Ocean Beach was on that original expansion list.

As recently as 2008, Ocean Beach appeared on a list of City of San Diego & CCDC Projects. The construction costs were $10,186,500 for an expansion to 15,000 square feet.

In 2010, over $2M in capital improvement funds were (I vaguely remember) used to fix the roof and other maintenance.

Thirteen years have passed and why is Ocean Beach (and so many other branches) on hold?

While San Diego residents love their libraries, the City Council has not been willing to put our money where our values are. The library ordinance, which would have guaranteed a percentage of the general fund for operation of the system, has been waived every year since 2004. The library continues to receive a disproportionately small portion of the general fund, as other departments (Park & Rec, Police) have received a bigger part of the pie.

The income sources and funds for capital improvements have been raided. For instance, then-Councilman Kevin Faulconer voted to move a big chunk of money out of the Library Improvement Fund in lieu of closing seven branches, including OB, about 7 years ago.

What started out as an ambitious plan that was crafted in 2002 with a great deal of community input has devolved into a piece meal approach to which libraries are expanded or built. That approach depends on what funding is available, and how hard specific districts or interests lobby for a particular branch.

But the worst thing that happened was the conscious use of the financial crisis we have gone through to redefine the city’s core services as safety (police & fire) and to make libraries and park & rec second tier. This reflects libertarian/conservative values but is not indicative of how residents view the importance of libraries (and park & rec).

If you want the OB Library to be put on the radar, I would encourage you all to pay attention to the library budget for FY 2016 and advocate for more operating and CIP funds for the whole system.

PS. Everything is not on the internet. Last night at our San Diego Free Press editorial board meeting, Frank Gormlie described going through microfilm at the Central Library to read the original San Diego Free Press newspaper printed 1968-69.

“La Jolla library became the first branch of the San Diego Public Library (1910)” from Turning the Pages by Clara E Breed (also not on the internet) and Ocean Beach opened in 1916.


Anna Daniels worked at San Diego’s central library for 24 years. It was just a few years ago that Anna helped OBceans save the OB branch library when it was being threatened by Mayor Sanders’ budget cuts. Today she sits on the editorial board of the San Diego Free Press, our online media partner.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna Daniels January 15, 2015 at 2:33 pm

I unfortunately left off a very important action you can take–become a member and support the OB Friends of the Library. They are already advocating on this issue. Judy Collier, President of the OB Friends provides this info:
We meet on the third Tuesday of the month at 2:00 p.m. in our historic library, and our next meeting just happens to be next Tuesday, Jan. 20. Or, you can email me at, or call me at 619 223-1890. Thank you for your support!
My apologies to Ms Collier and the Friends for the omission. Anna


Sue January 15, 2015 at 2:40 pm

It might help to remind the mayor of this history, and “encourage” him to put some money where his mouth was during his recent speech….he is encouraging libraries to meet the needs of the future. It is hard for the O B Library to barely meet the needs of now.

My hat is off to the O B Friends of the Library for their advocacy for a new facility. It is sorely needed.

Here’s hoping our city officials, especially the Mayor and Laurie Zapf, clear the way for a new library for us, sooner rather than later.


DrWeb January 15, 2015 at 3:59 pm

The Web site still lists the project, Anna.. it’s shown as “in design.”
Thanks for the update,


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