The Friends of the San Carlos Library organization is linking the promotion of the branch's upcoming 40th anniversary celebration to increasing awareness about plans for a new library.
The 9500-square-foot branch opened on January 9, 1974, and the updated plans for a 25,000-square-foot library and community center were unveiled July 10, 2007, by District 7 councilman Jim Madaffer and an architect from Dominy + Associates (now known as domusstudio architecture).
"We're ready to move ahead," Friends president Judy Williams said at the July 10 San Carlos Area Council meeting. However, a cornerstone gift of at least $3 million is needed to start the process. "We don't know anyone who has $3 million; [tell us] if you do," she said.
The Friends' campaign extends to notifying elected officials and community donors about the need for a new library and the funds required to make it a reality.
"Keep in mind that it's not just fiction," said Williams. The $3 million figure is a City of San Diego guideline of 25 percent of the cost, Williams said in a July 12 interview.
The two-story building designed by Lew Dominy's firm has an estimated price tag of $12.5 million, up from $9 million in 2007. At that time, Councilman Madaffer anticipated the project would be ready for bonding within 12 to 18 months, according to the Friends website.
"That was prior to the [economy's] crash," said Williams.
The city acquired land for the expansion during the mid-1990s, according to the 2002 San Diego Union-Tribune obituary for library advocate Jack Winer. The property located next to the branch was the site of a closed Arco station.
"Jack called the owner about every week,” Williams recalled. “He said, 'Here's what we need.’”
The land on the corner of Jackson and Golfcrest drives is currently an overflow parking lot. A sign displays a rendering of the new library, an image created before the update. The elements have obscured the picture. As a result, patrons like Eric D'Arcy wondered about the fate of the expansion.
"The billboard [is] old and crumbly," said D'Arcy. “It made me think [the plan] was going away.”
Williams showed him the plans that place the 17,000-square-foot library on the upper level. Inside are separate rooms for children and teenagers. The 8000-square-foot lower level contains the 2600-square-foot community room. There's a stage and kitchen where Williams said cooking classes could be held.
Other amenities include an outdoor hearth and reading terraces, an area for the Friends of the Library, a seminar room, offices for public use, and a neighborhood police center. A parking lot will replace the current library building.
According to branch manager Rita Glick, circulation at the San Carlos Library ranges from 143,000 to 150,000 items annually.