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October 26, 2017
Reception & Ceremony
The US Grant
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Interior Design

Imperial Beach Library

Libraries have taken on a new role as dynamic, cultural and social hubs for their respective communities. Where books were once the focus, libraries have repositioned themselves as multifunctional destinations—a central space to connect with others and with state-of-the-art multimedia and technology. The Imperial Beach Library is no exception.

Delawie designed the interior of the new, 14,830 square-foot Imperial Beach Library that serves a diverse population of 27,000 residents living in the small beach-oriented community often referred to as the “Most Southwesterly City in the U.S” due to its proximity to Tijuana, Mexico. It stands adjacent to the Imperial Beach Senior Center, Mar Vista Community Center, and Veteran’s Park. The new facility replaced the nearly 50-year-old, 5,100 square-foot county-owned building that the library operated out of since 1966.

The library’s interior incorporates natural motifs into the scheme and custom wayfinding devices that allow patrons to naturally flow through the series of spaces defined through the use of colorful wood-like tiles and integral colored stucco. A custom carpet design simulates a bird’s eye view of the native beachscape as it transitions from brown hues of sand, white hues of wave break, and deep blue hues of the depths beyond.

Custom seating throughout offers a blend of residential comfort with commercial durability and true functionality—rolling armchairs are equipped with built-in charging stations and materiality that matches the specific study space. A predominant interior design feature, a replica Woody station wagon placed in the Children’s Area, pays homage to the local surf community, where residents truly appreciate Mother Ocean and get out there to enjoy it. There are also custom surfboard-shaped computer stations and a large color print of the iconic Imperial Beach Pier.

Natural light is paramount, filtering through the main circulation space and into the fun and inquisitive Children’s Area with built-in reading nooks and interactive, social play areas.
The expanded facility also features a greatly enhanced materials collection, a Teen Room with dedicated study areas for controlled and introspective study, a large community room for events and meetings, wireless internet, a computer lab, and automated book check-in and check-out.

The building is a touchstone of sustainable design practices, certified by the USGBC at the LEED Gold Level and designed as a Zero Net Energy building. The array of rooftop solar panels, an 88kW photovoltaic system, assists in generating renewable energy equal to the building’s power consumption.

The Delawie-designed interiors were developed in association with Jeff Katz Architects, domus architecture and TB Penick.

  • Orchid Nominee

  • Project Address:

    810 Imperial Beach Blvd, Imperial Beach, CA 91932

    Project Owner/Developer:

    The County of San Diego

    Project Architect/Designer:

    Delawie (Interior Designer)


  • a

    I love the Imperial Beach Library!

  • Fran

    Incredible! I love using this library.

  • R

    The interior of the building makes me want to cuddle up and read. I love the light and space.

  • AB

    We bring our son to story time at least 3 times a week. The design of the entire library is gorgeous and so welcoming, but the kids library is our favorite! Not only is there plenty of children’s books to choose from, the activity center is a blast for our young son. We thoroughly enjoy the bright colors and thoughtfulness of the entire design.

  • Sandy

    The Imperial Beach Library is a gem of our community, providing users of all ages a pleasant environment for reading, exploring and learning. The space is versatile and the reading and homework rooms offer relaxing views. The beach town theme presents nicely and reflects the casual, classic Callifornia IB life style. The increased attendance and high utilzation are evidence that the design works.

  • Bibi Schofield

    We love the library it is so kid friendly which is awesome because it encourages children at a young age to love books. The newly designed building is amazing along with the wonderful staff. The exterior is beautiful and so colorful which is very eye catching for young and old. I also love that it’s located right next to the park because it makes it like one big playground for the kids to enjoy both the indoor fun along with the outdoors.

  • Theresa

    The library has done a great job of providing space for the community, with the design. The exterior patio provides fresh air, shade, and a quiet place to read or study. The interior has added many extra touches from the water bottle refill station at the fountain area, to the teen study areas and the small spaces for little people to play, and learn and enjoy; and even the larger meeting rooms. This allows the whole community 0-100 to be able to access learning, reading, and community.

  • Tiffany

    The Imperial Beach Library is no only a beautiful building, but it also presents unique features that are SO IB! The surfboard tables and benches, carpet that looks like the beach and ocean, and Woody are just pieces of the larger picture that make the library a true gem in the Imperial Beach community. It has brought so many different departments, staff, Friends of the Imperial Beach Library, community partners, and community members together through the pride of this building!

  • Amanda Eva Jungles

    This is a great project! As a former resident who lived mere blocks away, this was a much needed upgrade of design and construction caliber of Imperial Beach. It should set an example for future new development in the area!

  • V. Smith

    This is such a wonderful library! It is beautiful and welcoming. I enjoy the beach theme decor all of the details in the library.

  • V. Smith

    I love the design and details of the new library! It is such a beautiful and welcoming building. The design and colors capture the vibrant Imperial Beach community.

  • Susan

    The design is fresh and inviting inside and out. Such a positive reflection of the surrounding community!

  • Tina

    This library is beautiful and the design was incredible. As a user of many libraries, this one has the best children’s room I’ve ever seen! It’s open with lots of reading spaces, a play zone for the kids, activities and games to enrich the children’s minds, and window-like seats for kids and families to enjoy a space for reading. Plus, the staff is really helpful, and their storytimes, five days a week every week, are amazing!

  • Nathan Johnson

    The chairs in the Teen area are my favorite!

  • Olivia Johnson

    I am so glad to have a beautiful library in my community.

  • Sandman

    The kids space is so bright and welcoming. The reading book captures the feeling of being in an aquarium and provides a great place to encourage families to want to sit and read together. Thumbs up!

  • Sam

    Every time I visit the library I find a new thing to love. I still can’t decide what I love best. I am torn between the welcoming waves and the carpet in the kids area.

  • Crosby

    Such a wonderful addition to libraries and Imperial Beach

  • Sandy

    From stem to stern that library is designed to welcome and inspire. So impressed with all the space for reading and being.

  • Denzel borges

    This place is so well put together that it resembles a musium!

  • V

    Such a great library! An awesome resource for the community

  • M. Smith

    The building and interior are very well created. The interior is spacious and organized and easy to maneuver through. I have children who adore libraries, and the fixtures and floor plan of the kids area is one of the best I have seen. Well done, thank you!

  • Emeline Tafuna

    We love this library and always every Friday as a family to hang out, read to one another and watch the kids enjoy themselves in the kids discovery section! Esp the LEGO section! Job well done on a creating a fun and learning environment for all ages!

  • Xochitl williams

    We love the way it looks

  • Elvira sevilla

    Creative design. Love the color.

  • Kristen

    I love the “surfer” vibe

  • Raymond Hilliard

    Super creative, kid’s love it, favorite place to chill with the family and relax! 😉

  • Gabby Armendariz.

    Wonderful place to let the imagination flow, great staff, beautifully decorated.

  • Savannah

    I like the waves by the enterance of the building.

  • Nailea

    The Imperial Beach’s interior design is out of this world! Where to begin, where to begin…. The children’s area is beautiful, very intricate and just perfect for mommies and daddies and children and babies, and just everyone! When you walk in , the waves instantly remind you of the ocean… the walls are a beautiful sea green and blue colors, so unique!!! I absolutely adore this building’s design!!!!!!

  • lorena

    the Imperial Beach library is a piece of art! The muse of imperial beach, so wonderful! The walls, the carpet, the light fixtures, every intricate detail is note-worthy and beautiful!!!!!!! Great job, just amazing!!!!!!!!!

  • Virginia Syverson

    The library is becoming a tourist attraction–and of course that was not the intention. Locals love it so much that they bring visitors to have a look. Sometimes those visitors stay for a couple of hours enjoying the ambiance of the Library. This is now a community activity center with book discussions, children’s programs, classes, exercise groups, a chili cook off and of course an Eclipse party! Libraries are relevant!

  • Anthony

    The thoughtfulness and detailing of this library not only as a zero net energy building but also as an engaging beacon for the community is amazing! The grand opening was such a fun event with so many attendees from the community. Kudos to all of the design, construction, and stakeholder team members on such a successful project. I also love the beach theme throughout with the “wave” roof and “woody” car in the children’s section!

  • Courtney

    There are so many beautiful elements of this library that work well together. From all of the natural lighting, the fun wave shaped roof, to the well-picked interior materials. Everything comes together to make you want to spend time here. It definitely provides what every library in San Diego should strive for. It’s become so much more than just a place to read as well, it has fostered community connection with events like the solar eclipse party.

  • nancyib

    Such a wonderful design when you enter. The community uses this building to its’ fullest. It is a fun place to learn.

  • Billy

    This library is the most beautiful library I’ve ever seen.

  • decline

    The Imperial Beach library motif really compliments the imperial beach surfing atmosphere and culture.

  • decline

    The library represents what surfing in IB is all about!

  • decline

    Vote 4 the IB library to win the orchid award!!!

  • coollibrarians

    The staff of librarians are awesome!!

  • Dick Pilgrim

    The interior design is not only pleasing to see but it invites you to become a part of the library. This is what the design of public space should be – it reflects the community and invites you to participate in the space. This library will become as iconic of Imperial Beach as the Surfhenge pier entrance.

  • Carmen Talavera

    Vote for IB Library to win the Orchid Award for interior design, it is a beautiful and inspiring place to visit, pleasing to the eye and a great atmosphere plus there are many activities to participate in and the staff is awesome! I love this library!!

  • Henry Vaca Escandon

    The large community rooms and state of the art multimedia center are outstanding, and the children’s area is awesome.

  • sandiegodave2

    Full disclosure, I provided the image of the IB pier behind the checkout desk but that was all of my involvement so I can be objective in saying the designers did an amazing job of creating this space. You definitely feel uplifted and inspired. Congrats to all involved.

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San Diego, CA 92112-2228
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