Before I start this post I need to warn you that it is VERY heavy on pictures. So grab a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine, depending on the time of the day, and soak it all in. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
My mother was an avid reader. She could put a novel of 200 pages or more down in one day, while still keeping up with her life of cooking, cleaning and mothering.
She belonged to a book club and received most of her reading material by mail. If memory serves, I think it was called the Double Day Book Club. There are a few books that she wrote the date, 1948, in so I don't know if she started receiving them before that or not.
** This is not the actual mailbox mentioned
It was always an exciting day when the mailman dropped off that brown paper wrapped package in our rural mail box.
She also had a library card and when my dad could take the time off from work he would transport us into town, as my mom didn't drive, and she would comb the shelves of the local library, looking for just the right books, while we kids went to our sections and picked out our choices.
At that time my passion was dog stories. Now I tend to my novels at night and decorating books and magazines during the day. Right now I'm re-reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
I'm sure this was the beginning of my life-long love of books and reading.
At an early age, I was obsessed with my mother's books. Most of them were romantic, historical novels. Those were the stories that she preferred and she certainly passed that preference on to me.
She would allow me to read some, but she would keep a tight reign on the choices, as most were too racy for my eyes and mind at such a tender age!
A few had wonderful pictures of the heroes and heroines of the stories. I especially loved those, as I could connect more easily with the characters because I now had a picture in my mind of what they looked like.
My mom also usually signed her name on her books and I found this page where she used a bobby pin as a book mark.
My own library was starting at that time. My grandparents made it their mission to give me a book on each of my birthdays and Christmas.
That is how I acquired my Pollyanna books, Little Women, The Secret Garden and others.
I feel so fortunate that my mother added them to her library shelves or I may not have had them still.
On our vacation in San Diego, I was amazed to discover a new library had been built. Not so much that it was a library or that it was new, but in awe of the pure scope of it.
This is part of the fulfillment of Alonzo Horton's vision, more than 100 years ago when he purchased the land now known as downtown San Diego, to build a vibrant waterfront center.
The city put together a funding plan for this $185 million Central Library building project. The California State Library awarded a $20 million grant. The Centre City Development Corporation allocated $80 million for construction with funds earmarked for downtown development. The San Diego Unified School District approved $20 million for a 40-year lease on unused space on the sixth and seventh floors of the building for a charter high school. It is the first high school to be integrated into a large central library in a major metropolitan city. Another $64.9 million was contributed by private donors to complete the construction.
On June 28, 2010, the city council approved construction and a month later ground was broken. On June 9, 2013, the old Central Library was closed, and on September 30, 2013, the new one was in full operation.
It was the climax to a dream of thirty years when leaders and citizens of San Diego recognized that if they truly wanted to be a great city they needed to build a new Central Library to replace the existing one built in 1954.
The library's gleaming and iconic dome represents San Diego and is integrated into publications and advertisements.
Architect Rob Wellington Quigley states, "This dome stands as a symbol of the city's commitment to literacy and learning."
At 143 feet in diameter, it is larger in size than the U.S. Capitol (135 feet), comparable to the Pantheon in Rome (142 feet) and the Doma in Florence (149 feet), and smaller than St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican (195 feet).
But this amazing structure, however, is not really a dome. It is constructed from eight overlapping steel "sails", with the tallest one at 113 feet. Together, the sails constitute the spine of the dome. Each sail weighs approximately 17 tons. The dome, in total, weighs 136 tons.
They were constructed in Arizona, transported to San Diego and assembled onsite. Covering the sails are 1,500 aluminum panels weighing 32,000 pounds to shade the glass reading room below.
By projects end 43,000 cubic yards of concrete had been poured and over 12,000,000 pounds (6,000 tons) of rebar laid within the building's slabs and columns. All of this, and much more, was successful due to the efforts of more than 1,100 workers.
The latticework design of the dome doesn't look finished and it never will.
Like the human spirit that thirsts for knowledge, the dome is designed to be in the perpetual act of becoming.
"It is intended to stand as a paradox, grand yet accessible, familiar yet unique, comforting yet provocative," said the architect. "It is permanent yet kinetic, and ever-changing to the sun and the sky and the clouds."
It is an amazing space, nine stories high.
(No pun intended)
There are comfortable and inviting spots to relax and read...
...a children's section that is unbelievable with interacting games and playrooms set in the world of Dr. Seuss...
There are quiet spaces throughout the library where a person could study and read using their own laptops.
There are 300 computers set throughout the seven floors that we were able to see.
The sixth and seventh floors were not open to the public as that is where the high school is held.
The e3 Civic High, a charter high school, opened with 260 ninth and tenth grade students. The plan is to add a grade each year through the 2015 academic year, when there will be more than 500 students. The school is focused on preparing students for college and their careers by providing them with real world challenges to solve.
There is a section for teenagers only, with hundreds of books and magazines, study rooms, and game room.
These last two preceding pictures are typical of the nine floors and how the rows of books are set up.
The Coronado Bridge is seen in the background
When exiting the elevator on the ninth floor, the doors open onto an outside seating area, with a spectacular view of the city and rooms full of rare books surrounding it.
There is an auditorium included...
This is a wall display of books that is seen to the left of the previous picture.
...sculptures and various forms of art can be seen throughout the floors...
...there is an outside patio area with a coffee shop...
...that sits on a flooring of tile bricks, each engraved with the name of a donor.
There is also underground parking with space for 250 cars.
The architecture of this magnificent building is astounding...words fail me so I'll let the pictures tell the story...
This is the view that greets you when you enter the front door. The picture cannot do it justice, it will take your breath away in actuality.
At night, the 255 foot high dome anchors the cityscape with a soft and welcoming glow.
It is not your library of old, that's for sure, where the librarian holds her finger to her lips at just the slightest hint of noise, but even with the banks of computers, the elevators and escalators taking patrons here and there, and its immense size, it still has an awe inspired feeling, almost like walking on hallowed ground...
...and it does take me back to that small space that I spent time in many years ago and learned to love from my Mother.
"The three most important
documents a free society gives
A birth certificate
A library card"
As inscribed above
the entrance to the library
I'm sharing today with: