San Diego Board of Supervisors approve land purchase for new Lakeside Library

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“The purchase of the Lakeside property for the new Library passed on consent calendar, meaning no one pulled the item for public comment.” Migell Acosta, San Diego County Library director brought this good news, who confirmed that last week the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of new land for the new Lakeside library. The two acres lot is part of a four-acre available parcel on Woodside Ave and Channel Road, next to Ottavio’s Italian restaurant, and it will also be accessible from Parkside Street.

“The purchase of the Lakeside property for the new Library passed on consent calendar, meaning no one pulled the item for public comment.” Migell Acosta, San Diego County Library director brought this good news, who confirmed that last week the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of new land for the new Lakeside library. The two acres lot is part of a four-acre available parcel on Woodside Ave and Channel Road, next to Ottavio’s Italian restaurant, and it will also be accessible from Parkside Street. The new library has a price tag of $17 million and it will include a 17,000 square-feet building and 50 parking spaces. The next stage of this project is to actually purchase the land and that decision belongs to the Board of County Supervisors expected before the end of this year with a timeline for completion by 2020.

In the meantime, Lakeside Friends of the Library are busy organizing fundraising events hoping to raise $100,000 necessary to cover the cost of a wide variety of programs and activities designed for all ages. Doris Adam-Hillert, Lakeside Branch Library manager points out that “our programs grew so much, that it’s very difficult to accommodate programs for different ages at the same time. We need study rooms for teens doing their homework away from the elementary level kids participating in story time, which could get noisy.”

Adam-Hillert is collaborating with local schools to provide children and teens with “a third place away from home meant to help them socialize, earn valuable skills for school and workforce, keep them away from drugs and gangs.” While few have any doubts about the benefits of a bigger, better and well-equipped library able to assist with community needs, people are slow to volunteer and donate for the current library programs.

With only 54 paid memberships and many “spaghetti dinners” and book sales, Lakeside’s Friends of the Library managed to raise $40,000 so far, with Mrs. Dorothy Wood being the champion fundraiser to bring in almost $10,000 from donations. The group is few decades old, but started over back in 2004 when the former president, Barbara Ferrera, who also came up with the idea of a new library, gave the reigns to Heather Gutierez (president), Leslie Ward (treasurer), Caprice Hubbard (Secretary) and Terry Burke-Eiserling (PR). With the exception of Leslie Ward who retired from the Santee Branch Library and is now keeping the books, the board members are dedicated Lakeside residents, well known for their involvement in other community projects, such as Burke-Eiserling and Hubbard who deserve accolades for bringing the skate park at Lindo Lake.

The board works closely with the Lakeside Community Center to come up with programs, such as Iron Chef competition for teens, Back To School charity event to help students in need with school supplies, readership and gamming activities for teens. One successful project is stewarded by library assistant manager, Eric Jones, and is offering weekly art club meetings to adults with disabilities. The art teachers from El Capitan High school have heard of this successful idea and now the library is working with the school to offer a similar after school program to students with disabilities. 

The Library recently introduced Spanish and Mandarin story time in collaboration with Riverview International Language academy and serving kids that will continue their multi-language education at Tierra Del Sol, Lakeside Middle School and El Capitan High School. 

Unfortunately, the space is small and despite the extra efforts from staff and volunteers to accommodate everybody, a bigger and better library is needed soon. Next fundraising event is planned for November at Café 67 in Lakeside, where guests can win one of the four Disneyland tickets up for raffle. For $15 per year, people can sign up to become members of the Lakeside Friends of the Library by filling up a form located inside the library.

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