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Barrio Logan has a new “community treasure”

Created: 18 December, 2009
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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4 min read

 

 Mrs. Gracia Molina de Pick (pictured center in red vest) at the grand opening ceremony.of the New Logan Heights Branch of the San Diego Public Library.
Mrs. Gracia Molina de Pick (pictured center in red vest) at the grand opening ceremony.of the New Logan Heights Branch of the San Diego Public Library.

 When Mrs. Gracia Molina de Pick came to live in San Diego 52 years ago, she said one of the first things she noticed was how small the library in Logan Heights was. She said her dream became to one day help create a library in the Barrio similar to the one in La Jolla, where she lived with her husband.

“I knew it was possible, because people in the barrio deserved a better library,” Molina de Pick said.

Now, more than five decades since she had that dream, she is one of many contributors who have made the new Logan Heights Branch of the San Diego Public Library, which held a grand opening ceremony on Friday, Dec. 11th.

Molina de Pick’s contribution of $80,000 will help to create a community education program at the library.

Her contribution is proof that the Latino, mainly Mexican, community of Logan Heights has struggle for so many years to build a public library that will meet the needs of its residents.

The new two-story, 25,000-square-foot branch library replaces a 3,967 square foot facility built in 1927.

In a unique arrangement, the library is on the Logan Elementary School grounds and adjacent to Memorial Charter Middle School. Students from those two schools helped open the new library at the festive event that drew hundreds of community members regardless of the rain.

The funding for this $14.5 million project was made possible by a state grant of $5.35 million, a $3.4 million loan from the Federal Housing and Urban Development, with the remainder being paid for by a grant from the First 5 Commission of San Diego County, the Library System Improvement Fund and developer fees. The San Diego Library Foundation has also been an active partner on this project, raising an additional $230,000 in private contributions, with additional gifts pending.

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But a lot of the funding came from individual donors like Molina de Pick, who said that she was glad to see so many children will benefit from this library.

“Here, families will be able to bring their children and have a lot of space for them to learn,” Molina de Pick said.

Pilar Berumen’s family is one of those families that will take advantage of the many services available at the new library. She was at the opening ceremony, reading a child-ren’s book to her one and a half year old son, Manuel.

She said that she used to take her three children to the old library. Now she will bring them even more often to the new one, especially since this one has a special room for toddlers, like Manuel.

“He will be able to play with the books and laugh out loud because it was designed for little children like him,” she said, smiling.

San Diego Councilmember Ben Hueso, who grew up in the Logan Heights area, said that the new library became a reality thanks to the community.

“It was a grassroots campaign to create this,” he said. “Hueso added that more than 10,000 students from the six local schools, including, Logan Elementary and Memorial, will have access to the services.

And the features of this new, state-of-the-art library are many:

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The book collection of the branch has expanded from about 40,700 to approximately 73,000.

Compared to the ten computers available in the old library, the new library has 66 public computers and two early literacy computers for toddlers.

The old facility had no dedicated parking, while the new library has 186 dedicated parking spaces.

There is a large collection of bilingual books and library materials in a variety of formats.

“This is the library that was promised to Logan Heights for decades and decades and decades, and now it is a reality,” said San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders. “This is a first-class library.”

Bill Kowba, Interim Superintendent for the San Diego Unified School District, which is leasing the space to the city, called this library “a treasure for this community.”

Katie Sullivan, Library Commission Chair, said that “a library has the potential to change your life.”

Truly, this new library will change the lives of so many youth in the streets of Barrio Logan.

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The Logan Heights branch of the San Diego Public Library is located at 567 S. 28th Street.

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