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Room for Improvement
May 2009 | Peter Kaye, Ocean View

Doors will open soon for the first meetings in the new Community Room at the Del Mar Library.  For pictures of the Library as it was in 1914, click here.  Photo: Art Olson.


The paint on the wall is hardly dry and the furniture has yet to arrive but Del Mar Library’s new community room is becoming one of the most popular places in town.
Dedicated April 16, the room has already been reserved by the Rose Society, Farmers Market board, Historical Society, Coastal Writers Group and Community Connections. That’s only the start, says librarian Gretchen Schmidt, making one wonder what Del Mar did before it was built.

What’s the attraction? Well, the room is big, bright and airy, accessible and conveniently located, open six days and two evenings a week. And best of all, it’s free.

Schmidt is the designated gatekeeper for the facility. The county library has a long list of guidelines that seem reasonable and tailored to encourage use. For instance, Rule One states:

“Community rooms are available for use by organizations and individuals engaged in educational, cultural, intellectual, charitable or commercial activities, such as governmental agencies, civic groups, community service organizations, local clubs and (for a fee) businesses.”

A couple of other notable rules: Library events have priority. The public can’t be excluded from any meeting. Light refreshments are permitted but no red punch.
The official room capacity is 82 with no furniture. In this lecture mode, it’s already been booked for talks by authors – Marjorie Hart at 1:30 p.m. May 13 and Nan Sterman at 6:30 p.m. May 14. With tables and chairs, the capacity is limited to 38.
Appropriately, the first users were the people who made it possible.

“This room has been a dream of ours since we moved into the present library in 1996,” said Pat Freeman, incoming president of Friends of the Del Mar Library.
It was made possible, she said, by a grant of $200,000 obtained by Supervisor Pam Slater-Price augmented by $50,000 from the Friends. The city was praised for surmounting parking problems and Farmers Market was thanked for buying the furniture. Architect Joe Nelle was singled out for blending the new room with the historic church structure.

By the end of May, said Freeman, the 580-square-foot room will be equipped with five tables, 16 Herman Miller chairs, window blinds and additional cushions for the storage benches. There will be no books or library materials in the room. When there aren’t library or community events, said Schmidt, the room will be available for students, other readers and laptop computer users.


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