San Diego Public Library

San Diego’s Public Library was founded on May 19, 1882 and was designated a Federal depository library in 1895. The library has occupied a number of buildings during its existence, including a Carnegie building built in 1902. The library started writing its next chapter when the new main building was opened to public on September 30, 2013. This “New Central” encompasses nine floors, with two floors occupied by a charter high school. The building offers hundreds of computers, free Wifi, 42” informational displays throughout, an auditorium, garden courtyard, multimedia studio, an art gallery, and light filled spaces with panoramic views of the downtown area of the city including San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

This building houses the library’s extensive holdings of approximately 1.6 million government publications on its 3rd floor. As one would imagine, since 1895 the library has conducted extensive collection development, resulting in a collection with many items dating from before 1895. The library is a complete depository for state of California publications, is a Patent and Trademark Resources Center, and collects materials published by the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego.

The San Diego Public Library hosted an intern from the San Jose State University Library Science Program who reported many fugitive titles to the U.S. Government Printing Office for inclusion in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP). This project was practicable because San Diego is environmentally diverse, combining beaches, forests, mountains and desert and home to a number of Government agency regional offices and installations such as: the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The result is an abundance of materials issued by these agencies, including environmental reports and related documents, many that were not included the Federal Depository Library Program. The Library continues monitoring new electronic titles for inclusion in the CGP.

San Diego Public also serves as the library for the charter high school, and staff members are excited about helping students use the library’s collections for their research.

The “New Central” is providing new opportunities for its government publications collections: increased space; greater accessibility to materials; new technology; new spaces to display treasures from the collections; and last but certainly not least, it is the library for a new generation of potential government documents users.

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