Friends Purpose: The purpose of this philanthropic, non-profit association is to assist the  San Marcos Branch of the San Diego County Library by proving supplemental funds to promote and enrich the services and activities of the library.

The San Marcos Library…..It’s come a long way!

The first San Marcos Library was located in a small trailer parked near the City Hall on Richmar Street.  During the 1960’s it was open to the public for 17 hours a week.  A “bookmobile” visited the site twice a month for 3 hours.

In January, 1972 the county remodeled a 2,000 square foot building at 131 Richmar Street and San Marcos had a second library location.  The building is currently the location of the Panorama Teen Center.  Mary Ragsdale of Vista was the first Librarian.  The community was relieved that they didn’t need to trek to the library in Vista nor use the bookmobile.

The library was used as a social as well as an educational center. In 1972, one of the first events featured a display of photographs of Mexican craftsmen making pottery products.  A puppet show and children’s “story times” were also offered. In March 1972 the library featured an exhibition of the works of Andrew Wyeth.  Included were prints of his paintings and books relating to his art. The first books checked out included 1972 best sellers: “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, “The Exorcist” and “Greening of America”.

In 1979, with the encouragement of Librarian Barbara Friar, library technician Katie Hunter and the Junior Women’s Club, a meeting was held to form the Friends of the Library.  Many of the initial members came from the newly opened Lake San Marcos development.

In 1985 the library was moved again, this time to a commercial center located at the corner of Bent and San Marcos Blvd. The Friends were located for a while in an adjoining storefront, but with San Marcos experiencing rapid growth, they were forced to move several times until finally most of the books were put into storage and only brought out for sidewalk sales.  In the late 80’s a winter storm flooded the library. Bob Ayers and other Friends spent days trying to rescue books.

Finally, in 1995, the City of San Marcos incorporated a new library into its Civic Center Plan.  The City paid for the library and turned it’s administrative operation over to San Diego County.  The Friends finally had a specially designated room for their donated books to raise funds for the library.

Check out the March 2014 Newsletter for a great article about how the Friends help the library.

If you have any questions or comments please email us at: friendsofthesanmarcoslibrary@gmail.com