Friday, November 15, 2013

Fhoto Friday--San Diego's New Public Library Genealogy Section


Fhoto Friday--San Diego's New Public Library Genealogy Section


I went downtown yesterday to visit the New San Diego Central Library and thought I would share some insights about the Genealogy Section.  I call it Genealogy Section; but it is listed on the Library's web site as Special Collections, with an obscure reference to genealogy.  I really find that misleading because I  looked at almost every shelf of books and they are about "Genealogy" and should be referred to as such!  I will, therefore, refer to it as the Genealogy Section throughout the remainder of the blog (and in the future--forever).  

The library has been open now for almost two months; but there was still evidence that it is not a finished product.  Several of the parking stalls in the underground two-level garage are still filled with construction material.  The main elevator is not yet serviceable and, yesterday, one of the two remaining elevators was undergoing repairs.  Since the genealogy section is on the top (9th) floor, it took a lot of patience as the one working elevator stopped at every floor, with large numbers of people waiting to get on going both up and down.  Hopefully, this is a temporary problem.  

I stopped on the 1st floor to get a library card and the process was very efficient.  It does help if you fill out the application online before going to the library.  They immediately pulled it up and printed out my card.  You do need a photo ID to prove San Diego residency; but your photo is not included on the library card.

San Diego Central Library
Throughout the library their is a nice feeling of openness and light.  Additionally, being on the top floor, the genealogy section has a wonderful view from the row of large windows looking southwest toward the bay.

The photo below is of the Reading Room, which has also been dubbed "The People's Penthouse".  As you can see from this view looking down from the 9th floor terrace, it is very open and airy.  The room is three stories high, extending upward toward the dome.

8th Floor--Reading Room (People's Penthouse)

Below is the view from the 9th Floor Terrace looking up at the dome with the glass enclosed, three story 8th Floor Reading Room in the foreground. 
9th Floor View of Dome

As you get off of the elevator on the 9th floor and look directly ahead one sees the view below which is the entrance to the Special Collection and Rare Books, which includes the Genealogy Section.
Rare Books & Special Collections Entrance

Following is a photo of a portion of the Rare Books room, which has entrances both from the terrace area outside and, inside, from the Genealogy Section.  The books have not yet been put on the shelves in this section.  It is a very warm room with dark wood floors and shelves.
Rare Books

Below is a view of the bank of eight computers that are available immediately to your right upon entering the Genealogy Section.  Entrance to the Rare Book section is immediately to the rear in this photo.They do have the Library Version of Ancestry.com.  Throughout the library is free Wi-Fi which is appropriately titled "New Central Library Wifi".  It immediately connected on my laptop and worked very well without my having to even select it or click on "connect".  In addition to the computers, toward the back of the room they have two digital microfilm readers with a printing capability and a copier.
Genealogy Section Computers (8)

The next photo is of the stacks in the genealogy section taken from the back of the room.  When I took the photo I had my back toward a complete wall of windows looking southwest toward the bay.  Along that wall are several tables equipped with power outlets for laptops and other electronic devices.  The periodicals are in the shelves in the forefront of the photo, state and county oriented books are in the central rows and along the front of the room are general books about genealogy.

I noticed in looking through the shelves that there is lots of space for the addition of more books.  I assume that in the near future the displays at both ends of each stack of shelves with contain the appropriate call numbers.  Currently, only the end of each shelve facing the front of the room has the numbering.  As you can see from this photo taken from the back of the room, their are no call numbers listed.

Genealogy Library Stacks

This photo is taken from near the far left front of the Genealogy Section and, in the background shows a portion of the wall of windows looks out on San Diego and toward the bay.  In the forefront are study tables all equipped with power outlets. 
Study Table 

The below photo is of the 9th Floor Terrace area immediately adjacent to the Genealogy and Rare Books section (left of terrace in this view).  The glass walled area on the right of the photo looks down on the 8th floor Reading Room.

9th Floor Terrace

I can only speak from having visited the 9th floor and the entrance area on the 1st floor; but I was very impressed with what I observed.  The library has a very open feeling to it, which is further enhanced by many floors having access to outside areas, such as you see in the photo above.  This might not be as practical in Buffalo; but suits San Diego's climate very nicely. 

In case you live in the San Diego area and would like to visit the new library and also take in a genealogy presentation, on behalf of the San Diego Genealogical Society, I will be providing an "Introduction to Genealogy Workshop" on 10 December at the beautiful  Special Events Suite on the 9th floor from 10 am until noon.  Please let us know if you are coming at sdgsclasses@gmail.com.