Wednesday, January 30, 1991

San Diego Public Library - New library to be home for READ project

New library to be home for READ project
Evening Tribune: December 28, 1991 by Claude Walbert

A branch library to be constructed in Southeast San Diego will become a center of community activity as well as home of the READ/San Diego adult literacy project, said San Diego's head librarian.

It will be built on Market Street between 50th and 51st streets in Valencia Park and will house 50,000 books and periodicals.

Library Director Bill Sannwald said the 15,000-square-foot library was designed by Hillcrest architect Manuel Oncina to blend into the 8-acre site while leaving space for trees and paths.

The California Library Construction and Renovation Board awarded $3 million to the Valencia Park project Dec. 19 after plans for the library weathered a stiff state competition. The money comes from the Proposition 85 bond act.

Under terms of the grant, one of 14 awarded to 52 applicants, 35 percent of the construction costs must be paid by the applicant, and the new libraries must remain in operation for 20 years.

The Valencia Park branch will share its space with the literacy project, allowing it to move from its cramped Oak Park headquarters, Sannwald said.

Chris McFadden, adult literacy coordinator, said READ/San Diego will have twice the space now available in its 1,500-square-foot headquarters at 1535 Euclid Ave.

Begun in 1988, the literacy program has helped 1,500 people improve their reading skills, McFadden said. Most of those are adults, but anyone at least 16 years old who doesn't plan on returning to school is eligible for aid in gaining literacy.

The Euclid Avenue headquarters has four paid staff members and 45 volunteers in addition to the program's own library of books and records. It also has seven computers used to teach reading. That number is expected to grow to 18 after moving to the new headquarters, McFadden said.

Tutor training also will take place in the new headquarters, as will tutoring of adults.

There is no firm construction schedule for the library, said Terry Bednarzyk, a spokesman for Councilman George Stevens, in whose district the new branch will be built.

The possibility of adding 5,000 square feet to the library for a cultural center will be considered early next year, Bednarzyk said, with final decisions on construction details to follow.