Sunday, February 9, 2014


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 passport
A library card"

As inscribed above 
the entrance to the library


I'm sharing today with:


  1. I am an "old book" person so I find your mother's books quite lovely. East of Eden is a favorite of mine as well; I have read several times. Glad you are safely home! Angelastuff@gmail.companies

  2. Oh, Judy- My mother belonged to that same book club-Doubleday. I so remember reading a book that I wasn't "supposed" to read. It was "Hannah Fowler". I think I was 11 or 12 when I first read it. That library is really something. What a living testament to the man that imagined it and dreamed it. I have several of my childhood books, too, Judy. xo Diana

  3. My father passed along to me a love of reading and a love of books. One of the things I'm proudest of is having raised two readers who also treasure books. When we were traveling with the military I always found the nearest library, as soon as I had the house settled. I had to search for an English library in Germany and the Netherlands, and I really valued my rare afternoons there.
    I have seen a few photos of the San Diego library, but not as many as you've shown. I'd love to visit! Heaven!
    Nice to see you back, Judy!

  4. Fabulous photos of this incredible library, which resonate in this librarian's heart, and you mom's dear book collection reminds me of my upbringing surrounded with books. One thing I think of is that in my opinion the world would be a poorer place if all we collect is ebooks. I like the paper books, though I do have an ereader too. Wow, what architecture this San Diego Library has, it seems a work of genius and love.

  5. I formed a great love for reading at a very early age also, and I read many of the same children's books you did including an love of dog books. This library is amazing. I am going to San Diego in late spring for an art show and stopping here will now be on the list of things to do. Thank you!

  6. What a beautiful collection. Reading is so relaxing. Paper books are something of a treasure. Enjoy your special books Judy. Finally getting some much needed rain.

  7. Hi Judy,

    I think you and I must be kindred spirits. :) I, too, love books, libraries, and bookstores. I worked in a bookstore for four years, and I actually met my husband there. I enjoyed seeing your mom's collection of books. My mom belonged to a Double Day Book Club, too, and she liked to read mystery/romances. She definitely passed her love of books and reading along to me. I have a Kindle and it's convenient, but it will never replace real books in my heart. :) I wrote a post about a week or so ago about some of my hardback books, and "Little Women" was one of them. You'll have to check out the post; I think you'd enjoy it.

    That library is ENORMOUS!! I've never seen one like it -- wow! I'm glad you shared this with us, Judy; I'm always glad to find another book lover out there. Visiting from Met Monday -- hope you have a great day!


    Denise at Forest Manor

  8. Silly me, Judy; I meant to say I was visiting from Amaze Me Monday. I'm having another senior moment. :-D

    Denise at Forest Manor

  9. thanks so much for the great tour of an amazing library, judy! we loved san diego, and hope to go back soon:)

  10. Wow - so many thoughts. First - so many books - that is a treasure in itself. The first time I was in a library I was in third grade - my first year in town after living out in the "wilds of Alaska" - and as I walked in I saw all the books and wondered how I was ever going to read them all. I had never seen so many books in one place before.

    The architecture is beyond amazing - and your photos of it are spectacular. What a mind it must have taken to design something unique and outstanding. The uses of the building are fabulous - and the contributors, small and large - gave such a gift to the city.

    I loved the stories of your mother's books, and the bobby pin bookmark. It is wonderful to have such memories of books in your home - our home was without books - we were allowed only to read school books (and library books while at school) - and yet I grew up loving to read, even while being discouraged - no, not discouraged, stopped from reading books. I love your memories and the stories of your mother's book club.

  11. How wonderful to have your momma's books! She was quite the reader. Do you read as much as she did?
    That's also an amazing library. I live in a small town. I'm thankful we have a library. Thank you Carnegie!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  12. Judy, what an awe inspiring post! Thanks so much for sharing this marvelous Library! Love that you have your mother's book much to cherish.


  13. Judy, your home does look like mine! Love the blue and your garden is beautiful! Followed you back!


  14. Wow!
    Wow to your Mom's book collection {love those old books}, wow to your book collection and love of books, and wow to that library!!
    Does my heart good to know of people and places that have a love for books.
    And, I mean the real kind of books.. the paper, the ink, the dog-eared pages. I have lots of books on my Kindle... but I love real books so much more!!!

    Thank you for this heart-felt post. You've inspired me to keep picking up that book that I'm trying to finish :)

  15. Judy,

    I am a book worm! I love collecting and reading all kinds of books. How precious to have your books from your childhood. Thanks for sharing,
    Amy Jo

  16. I love books. I always try to find the oldies in second hand shops in. small towns. I have two that I found in the mountains and I will show a post about them later. Wow some money spent on that library - a grand one for sure.
    Happy Valentines Day

  17. Such a wonderful collection.

    Thanks for being a part of Seasonal Sundays.

    - The Tablescaper

  18. OMGosh Judy that building is incredible! I just love the architecture of it and the meaning behind its look. Wonderful pictures too. If you ever get out here to the east you need to check out the National USMC museum in Triangle has some amazing architecture too. Thank you so much for we have come a long way from the librarian shushing with her finger to something like this...just incredible!
    XO Barbara

  19. What an amazing place! Next time I'm down that way I'll go take a look. Some of my best memories as a child involve our public library in San Luis Obispo. Mimi


  20. your post really spoke to me Judy, as I am an avid reader,too. My love for books came from my wonderful library experiences as a young girl, too. Thanks for sharing your mothers treasures with us.
    Hugs, Patti

  21. My mom was an avid reader too. She taught me the love for books, reading and writing. My daddy as a pastor had all his study books from the late 1800's. He put them in storage and they were ruined. He said he kept them in hopes that one day one of his children or grandchildren to be a preacher. When we cleaned out the storage building, I had hoped to get the books and they were ruined. I almost cried. Love this collection. Beautiful!

  22. My mom loves to read, always has! So nice to have these treasures...
    Pleasure to have you sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY! :)

  23. That library is awesome impressive. I have a way with words. LOL
    I got my library card in 2nd grade and every summer while staying with my grandparents I went to
    the library and filled my card with books read to win a book mark every week. I loved to read and still
    do but haven't done much reading lately but trying to change that. Loved all those books of your moms.


Your comments are so special to me...Judy