The city expects to welcome homeless San Diegans to sleep in its old Central Library later this month.
Mayor Todd Gloria’s office said the city is preparing the long-vacant downtown library to accommodate 26 beds this winter and to get final approval from the fire marshal to shelter unhoused residents there.
San Diego’s head librarian Misty Jones has a lot of numbers on her mind these days, and not just the Dewey Decimal System.
Residents just besieged branches to snap up 20,000 rapid covid tests, 174 of 600 library jobs are open and need filling, and patrons are eagerly checking out 2,000 portable Wi-Fi hotspots.
And then there are the statistics that reveal the size of the sprawling system that Jones oversees. Before the pandemic, the San Diego library system had the nation’s eighth-largest collection and ninth-largest number of visitors despite being one of the least-funded of the top 25 libraries in the U.S.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
Disclaimer: I worked for 15 years at San Diego Public Library, and know of its up and down over the years, in terms of funding. There’s an unfunded ordinance, and the ordinance calls for the city to spend a minimum of 6 percent of its operating budget on libraries. Never been done…
City Council leaders recognize libraries and parks as critical infrastructure. But recent budgets do not reflect the increasing demands for services these departments provide.
Mayor Todd Gloria passionately laid out his vision for San Diego in his 2022 State of the City address.
The mayor made a case for needed investments in infrastructure, policing and public safety, and tools to address homelessness and housing. He also itemized, with conviction, his administration’s top priorities for the coming year. I share the mayor’s vision that to be America’s Finest City and truly be great, we must all feel safe, have access to housing, and know that as our city grows, our roads, water, and other tangible assets are modern and capable of managing such growth.
However, conspicuously absent in this vision are investments in the types of services that, when well-funded and managed, create avenues to safety, health, and economic development. What was missing was a vision and plan to invest in what makes our communities great places to live – our neighborhood services.
The model embraced by most public libraries for retrieving borrowed materials has historically been a simple one: forget to return the item, you pay the price.
The San Diego Public Library became part of a group of trailblazers when it abandoned this system in 2018, joining the less than 10 percent of American libraries around that time that’d done away with daily overdue fees, according to the Library Journal.
But the new policy, advertised on signs across the downtown branch that read, “Wave goodbye to overdue fees,” is not as straightforward as it sounds.
Local public school teacher Julie Ruble, who’s untimely book return resulted in a $1,426 debt to the city of San Diego, can attest. “This was just so much money and I didn’t think there were fines,” she said, “but it turns out the no-fines policy is misnamed.”