CARLSBAD — If you rebuild it, they will come.
At least 200 people attended the grand re-opening of the Georgina Cole Library on Saturday to check out the facility’s makeover.
Library and Cultural Arts Director Heather Pizzuto began the day thanking the City Council, staff, library board and many others for two years of planning and work to upgrade the building.
The library was constructed in 1967 and the two-year odyssey to upgrade the building was facilitated by a proactive council and library board.
“We did this during a time where there is this increasing question about whether libraries were relevant anymore,” Pizzuto said. “Through research and studies, we found libraries were as vital as well used as ever because they continue to be focused on the same important issues.”
Mayor Matt Hall led the ribbon-cutting ceremony, while residents and other guests poured into the building to get a first-hand glimpse of the new offerings.
“This library is probably second to none in this whole region,” he said. “So when Heather came to us and said how much of an investment do you want to make, I think that it was resounding from the council to dream the impossible dream. Show us what we could really make.”
Carlsbad resident Tres Hodgens and his son Caleb were both impressed with the building, especially the spacing.
Prior to construction, an atrium in the middle of the building gave an aesthetic touch, but gobbled up space. One priority was to remove the atrium and use the extra square footage for additional services.
The father and son, who visit the library about twice per month, said the extra room is a great addition to the facility.
The added amenities, he said, provides more options for he and Caleb, who he described as a “voracious reader.”
“We were here before the renovation and enjoyed it then,” Hodgens said. “It has been modernized greatly, so we’re excited as everyone else is. When I walked in, I was like, ‘Oh wow,’ there’s tons of room everywhere. It seems like everything has opened up.”
Caleb, a fan of fiction, said the re-opening was a bit confusing to find his way around. Despite the loss of bearings, he said the new building is more open.
“It’s kind of like school when it was reopened,” Caleb said. “Now I feel better that the library has changed.”
Other additions to the facility include more computers, a bookstore, automated check out kiosks, an elevator and a teen center, to name a few.
Upstairs, though, the city’s nationally recognized genealogy collection remains in tact, as does a section on Carlsbad history.
All the pomp and circumstance surrounding the day was the reward for the countless hours poured into the project, library board chairwoman Beth Hulsart said.
“It’s just beyond exciting,” she said. “The Cole Library has been an institution in this city since 1967. Georgina Cole … was the archetype supporter of the library. She loved books and she loved her community. We didn’t want it abandoned, we wanted to see it renewed.”