By Karen Billing
The Carmel Valley Library’s exterior upgrade is nearly complete, just in time for the celebration of its 20th anniversary with a community party on Saturday, July 27. It will be a big fete for what is considered one of the best, most-loved libraries in San Diego.
In 2012, the library’s circulation was 394,083, one of the highest circulations in the city other than the central library downtown.
“The fact that it is so well used is really a testament to what a great asset it is to the community,” said Marion Moss Hubbard, the city library system’s senior public information officer. “The city is really proud of that branch, it is one of our shining branches.”
The library is also tops in the city in patron count of people who come through the door with 239,588 counted in 2012. Proof positive is the crowd that shows up to the baby and toddler story time on Friday mornings — 100 to 130 people in a room with a 142- person capacity.
“We’ve hit max capacity a couple of times, it’s crazy,” said children’s librarian Emily Derry.
The July 27 celebration will be held from noon to 2 p.m., with speeches from City Library Director Deborah Barrow and District 1 Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who made a contribution toward getting the library’s exterior a fresh coat of paint.
Following the speakers, the library will serve up two big birthday cakes. In addition, children can get airbrushed tattoos and information tables will be set up where people can learn more about all the library has to offer.
The library’s doors opened in young Carmel Valley on July 10, 1993. The 13,050-square- foot building was designed by Rusty Coombs and featured lively artwork inside —“hot coral, watermelon pink, lagoon blue, regal purple and dusky yellow friezes frolicking on the walls” by Philip Matzigkeit.
Matzigkeit also created the mosaic tile animals on the walkways and artist Mary Buckman created the bronze courtyard sculpture. The library is expecting artist Philip Matzigkeit to pay a visit during the birthday celebration.
The centrally located land cost $975,000.
“It’s the most beautiful, well-designed library I’ve seen,” then-branch librarian Susan Roberts told the Carmel Valley News in 1993. “The vibes are infectious for our patrons and it’s a wonderful place to work. All of us on staff are caught up in the enthusiasm of the volunteers from the community that have come forth to help us get ready.”
There have only been four branch library managers over the 20-year life span of the library: Roberts was the founding librarian, followed by Carolyn Demoray and Vy Tu.
After Tu left, because of budget shortages, the city wasn’t able to replace the position so for awhile the branch was without a manager until the current manager, Brenda Wegener, came aboard in April 2012.
Wegener had been at the central library from 1995 to 2004 and spent time as a librarian in New York City before returning to San Diego.
Staff members say they enjoy working at the busy Carmel Valley branch and they appreciate their dedicated patrons.