Solana Beach Branch of the San Diego County Library

by Richard A. Schwartzlose

In June 1925, Ira Earl Conner opened the first Solana Beach County library in his grocery store. For twenty and a half years the library remained in his store until he sold the store in January 1946. It was located about 100 feet south of Plaza St. on Highway 101, the building is still in use.

The library was moved to the Colony Shop on Highway 101 for about one year and then to a variety store, where it was located until September 1948. From early County Library correspondence, it appears to have moved into the Jack and Jill Shop, presumable on Highway 101, but was only there until July 1949, when the owner of the store asked that the library be removed. It reopened in June 1950 at the Weaving Studio of Mrs. May Shelton St. John. She sold the store in July 1952. There was difficulty finding a place for the library. None of the businesses would take it. Finally Mrs. Joseph C. Scialdo took it into her home at the north end of Solana Beach in August 1952, where it remained for almost a year.

At this time various groups were trying to obtain a more permanent location in Solana Beach. They wrote to the County library and the County Supervisors. Finally through the efforts of the Solana Beach Women’s Civic Club and the County librarian, a lease was obtained at 145 S. Highway 101. The library was a little over 1,000 sq. ft. and opened in October 1953.

Due to increased circulation the library became inadequate. A group of citizens formed an ad hoc committee to ask for a new , larger building. A new building, with several places for small shops, was built at 155 S. Highway 101. The library moved into one shop area in August 1968. During the first month there were no shelves, the books were in boxes in the center of the library and they had a circulation of 1,200 books that first month. As the population in Solana Beach increased, the circulation increased and the library became inadequate. The adjoining shop became available and the library expanded into this area for the children’s collection.

In March 1983 the Friends of the Solana Beach library was formed. They became very active in trying to increase the library size and to find a new location. New space was found in the Lomas Santa Fe Shopping center, Garden Section, Plaza of the Four Flags, at 381F Lomas Santa Fe Dr. The library moved into 3,800 square feet of space in October 1983.

In 1995 the Solana Beach City Council appointed Council members Joe Kellejian and Marion Dodson as a sub committee to work toward a new for Solana Beach Library. Many meetings were held organizing the community towards this goal and working on the funding. Funding was obtained from the State of California, City of Solana Beach, County of San Diego, San Dieguito Union High School District, and Friends of the Solana Beach Library. In June 2000 a contract was awarded for a 10,500 square feet library, located at Earl Warren Middle School, 157 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach. It is a shared-use library between the San Diego County Library and the San Dieguito Union High School District. The library was dedicated June 22, 2001 and opened its doors for use July 5,2001.