Long-awaited library expansion to commence

Two years after the project was first announced, the long-awaited expansion of the Del Mar Library was celebrated with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Sept. 4. On hand were various dignitaries including Del Mar Mayor David Druker, County Librarian Jose Aponte and County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, who along with her fellow supervisors granted $200,000 towards the $250,000 project.

“It’s hard to believe but we are finally starting,” said Slater-Price. “I know all of you are understandably proud of your library,” said Slater-Price. “As a Del Mar resident, so am I. This is an iconic library.”

The project will feature a demolishment of the library’s current outdoor patio area facing 13th Street and the construction of a new 550-square-foot addition in its place. The addition will be completely enclosed with air conditioning and large enough to hold community meetings and various library events. In addition, the library will, at a future date, receive a replacement fire-resistant roof made of composite shingles, paid for by the city of Del Mar. Construction is expected to start in the next few weeks. As part of the project, a large Torrey Pine tree next to the patio was to be removed this week.

The building housing the library, opened in the 1920s as St. James Catholic Church and was later occupied by two restaurants. The building opened as a library in 1996 after books were housed for several years in a portable building in the parking lot at Del Mar City Hall. One year after it opened as a public library, the restored building won an Orchid Award for Historic Preservation from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

“This library is a wonderful asset to the city of Del Mar,” said Druker.

Adding to city and county monies for the new expansion were private donations, including $25,000 from the Del Mar Farmer’s Market. The farmer’s market has also pledged up to $7,000 to furnish the new community room.

Slater-Price mentioned the work of deceased city councilman Jerry Finnell, calling him a tireless advocate for the library who first approached the supervisor about expanding it.

“I’d like to especially remember Jerry Finnell,” she said. “He really helped usher this through.”