Moments Along the Rocky Road of the Expansion of the Ocean Beach Library

by on February 14, 2020 · 3 comments

in Ocean Beach

July 2011, city again threatens OB Library’s hours.

Originally posted Feb. 14, 2020

Background to the OB Library Expansion

Moments Along the Rocky Road

  • 2001-2003 – City develops new design for expanded library with 2 stories, to be connected with next door building at 4817 Santa Monica, complete with courtyard, community garden and maintaining the historic core of the building. 3-D model presented at OB Planning Board.
  • 2005 – The building and land at 4817 Santa Monica Ave. to be expanded into was purchased via a federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan;lrental agreements for tenants of the Santa Monica building were not renewed and the tenants vacated the building in 2018 or so.
  • 2007 – 2009, 2011 – Recession hits; Mayor Jerry Sanders threatens to close OB Library or seriously cut back its hours (along with the hours of all other San Diego libraries); Ocean Beach community rallies to save the library (thanks to the OB Rag, the OB Historical Society, People’s Food, and of course, Friends of OB Library) and keep the doors open. Sanders relents and says the reaction in OB was the reason he changed his mind.
  • April 14, 2009. Mayor Sanders relents and agrees to keep the doors open.

    2016 – OB Library’s 100th birthday party attended by more than 400 community residents, a total of $3,000 was raised. “We used this opportunity to alert the public at that time that it was finally time to expand the OB Library,” said Friends Expansion Committee.

  • 2018 – a feasibility study done during Zapf’s tenure concluded that the existing Santa Monica building needed to be razed, and library to be redesigned. That conclusion was supported by the City Library administration and the community. Therefore, the least expensive alternative was to demolish it and to expand the existing library onto the adjoining property, while preserving the existing library’s historic core built in 1928.
  • Summer 2018 – For the first time, the OB Library has air conditioning – the only library in the system not to have it.
  • January 2019, the Friends, along with OB community leaders, met with Mayor Kevin Falconer.“He was enthusiastic and supportive of the expansion and directed his staff to begin the process,” Friends said.
  • May 2019 – Friends lobbied the City Council for money to move ahead with the expansion project; council members voted unanimously adding $500,000 to the capital improvement project budget for OB library expansion;
  • January 2020 – The design phase started;
  • Spring 2020 – Public Hearings expected on expansion designs;
  • Fall 2021 – expansion project is estimated to go to bid by the fall of 2021 if funding is available.
  • Completion is targeted for 2023.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura Dennison February 20, 2020 at 7:46 pm

Thanks for such a great synopsis of the meandering saga of the OB Library Expansion. WE WILL GET THIS EXPANSION SOON (or at least in the next 3 years)! and we couldn’t do it without the support of so many wonderful and interested groups here in OB. All of us together are a determined presence here in OB!


Kathy Blavatt February 13, 2021 at 2:46 am

The Friends the OB Library and the community support for the OB Library has been amazing. So much love and good people have created an amazing 106 year history of our library. A couple other key dates include the 2016, “90 Year Birthday” in fount of the Library. Mayor Sanders and Kevin Faulconer sent reps to honor the “90 Year OB Library”. Ironically, a few months later Mayor Sanders and Kevin Faulconer tried to CLOSE IT! It was great to see the community, local orgs., and the OB Rag work and protests to keep it open.
In 2016, The OB Historical Society and the OB Friends of the Library had a celebration in memory of the original OB Library Building (had Jail cell next door) where Newbreak Cafe and Falling Sky Pottery is today. New Break Cafe has a historical plaque by the door with the history on it.
I hope the OB Library will still be around to celebrate its 200th Birthday!


Laura Dennison February 15, 2021 at 8:46 pm

Hi all you OBceans! The San Diego Public Library Foundation has commissioned consultants to do a 20-year Master Plan. They will have a survey for the public up on this website beginning this Wednesday (until April): Please fill in the survey! If it asks you what we need, my suggestion is a large 100-person meeting room for public meetings, e.g., the concerts, Town Council meetings, Historical Society meetings, OBMA meetings, any type of community programs, and space for classes). Also, for my fav geeks, a maker-space with a 3D printer and other new technology would be cool. The Expansion is still on the proposed budget, but we need a big donor. If you know of someone, (or want to send me a comment), please contact me at Thanks OB!! YOU ARE THE BEST COMMUNITY!


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