New Lakeside Library moves on to next chapter

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Social media lit up few days ago when County Supervisor Dianne Jacob went online to celebrate some really good news for Lakeside.

“The Board of Supervisors approved a design-build process for the 17,000-sq-ft facility planned for the heart of town,” said Jacob, adding that the ground-breaking ceremony could be as soon as March of next year. Jacob thanked the community “who is working so hard to make this project a reality.”

Social media lit up few days ago when County Supervisor Dianne Jacob went online to celebrate some really good news for Lakeside.

“The Board of Supervisors approved a design-build process for the 17,000-sq-ft facility planned for the heart of town,” said Jacob, adding that the ground-breaking ceremony could be as soon as March of next year. Jacob thanked the community “who is working so hard to make this project a reality.”

The layout of the new library includes plans for a Zero Net Energy building with 50 parking spaces, a community room on 2,000 square feet, designated spaces for use of the latest technology for all ages, super high-speed internet access, an outdoor reading area, among other ultra-modern amenities. The estimated price tag is $14 million and Supervisor Jacob said she celebrated the budget approval for this long-awaited project.

The Lakeside Branch Library is only 5,000 square feet and it was built in 1962.

According to the County documents, the library is “reaching the end of its life cycle. Proposed maintenance repairs have been costly. Usage is high for a library of this size. Current facilities including parking and public computers are inadequate to meet community needs.”

According to the County, the idea of expanding the current library is “not feasible.”

The building is owned by the County Parks and Recreation Department and it will most likely be demolished.

San Diego County library director Migell Acosta stated that the community will have a seat at the table during the design stages. The County purchased two and a half acres of land last year on the corner of Woodside Avenue and Channel Road, next to Ottavio’s restaurant. Now that the budget has been approved, the next step would be the groundbreaking, followed by the site design, permits and construction. Acosta believes the community carries the weight of the credit for this project.

“Let me tell you, the fundraising you’re doing in Lakeside does the pull,” he said. “It gets the supervisor’s attention who sees the community is really activated.”

Jacob was right about the community working hard to raise funds for the programs offered through the library.

So far, the total amount of donations exceeds $100,000, with the biggest donation of $50,000 coming from Rise City Church in Lakeside. A $2,000 check recently came from the Lakeside Collaborative. All these donations are managed by the Lakeside Friends of the Library, a very small group of volunteers created in 2004.

Dorothy Woods, who just celebrated her 90th birthday on July 14, is a senior former volunteer who has been with the Lakeside Friends of the Library from the beginning and raised more than $10,000 on her own.

“I went to a meeting and there was only one member, Barbara Ferera, the president,” Woods said. “I said, ‘ok, I will be the fundraiser and we will try to get a new library.’ Then all these good people decided to join and finally we had a vibrant organization and you can see the results. I am very proud.”

Wood still keeps her habit of visiting the library often.

“I am an avid reader,” she said. “I go once a week and pick out three books.”

After retiring from the San Diego County Library where she served for 33 years, treasurer with the Lakeside Friends of the Library Leslie Ward stepped in to help Harvey Samson, the only member left in the group back in 2004.

“I have loved books and libraries since I was a small child,” said Ward. “When I was about ten years old, I decided that I wanted to work in a library when I grow older. Now that library was funded, one of our goals is to build a core group of volunteers that can be trained to assist with the planned Lakeside Friends bookstore in the new library. Our new goal is to raise $200,000.”

Caprice Hubbard Sander, the group’s secretary tasked with attracting new members and writing the monthly newsletter, does more than that as a board member with the Lakeside Friends of the Library. Responding to the claims that libraries are not useful anymore in this technological era, Hubbard Sander confessed, “For me, a library is not only a place of books, manuscripts and collections. A library is a safe place, a heaven, a sanctuary, a meeting place and most of all, a community resource center. It’s a gathering place for everyone regardless of age, race, creed and color. It’s an equalizer. It can breath new life into the community.”

Lakeside Friends of the Library organizes numerous fundraising events throughout the year in order to sponsor many of the exciting programs offered at the local library for patrons of all ages. Right now, the board members are working with the community and the County to put together a final list of all the desirable amenities and programs to be included in the project for the new library.

More information about the new library, community events and how to get involved on the Lakeside Friends of the Library Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/lakesidefriends/

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