San Ysidro library upgrade. Courtesy of
Illustration of proposed Ysidro library upgrade. Courtesy of

Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council accepted a $1.5 million donation from Lloyd and Caroline de Llamas to upgrade the San Ysidro Branch Library.

Faulconer said, “On behalf of the City of San Diego, I’d like to thank Lloyd and Caroline de Llamas for this wonderful and gracious gift.”

The Mayor’s office said that Llamas recently visited the San Ysidro library. During this trip, he noticed that lines of people were frequently waiting to use one of the library’s 35 computers. This inspired him to invest in a new building project for the San Ysidro branch.

“From helping children learn how to read to providing the necessary tools to help adults apply for a job, I truly believe that libraries are at the heart of every community,” said Faulconer. “Their generous act of kindness will help millions of San Diego workers, families and children in San Ysidro for years to come.”

Llamas explained that the support of librarians at San Ysidro was a “major factor” in his decision to eventually attend college. He said, “The librarians there were wonderful about introducing me to new writers and ordering anything that they thought I might read.”

His donation will support the construction process of the new library, as well as supplying technology and furniture, according to a media report. In the past, Llamas has already made donations for the library’s carpets and computer lab.

Library Director Misty Jones said, “I am grateful to Mr. de Llamas for this very significant gift. His generosity moves this project a huge step closer to giving the San Ysidro community the library they deserve.”

The new library will cost at least $12.8 million, replacing a 4,089 square foot library with a 15,000 square foot library, said the Mayor’s office. The old one was built in 1924 and remodeled in 1984.

Last November, the City of San Diego staff and Councilmember David Alvarez provided an update on the status of the new library project to the San Ysidro community. They explained the new Community Based Competitive Design is expected to incorporate public input into the project’s style.

The City is working to create several design teams that collaborate with community groups to plan the future library’s layout, with a balance of appealing aesthetics and practical functionality.

The Mayor’s office said the new library is expected to open in 2019.