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Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 | Contrary to what Scott Lewis has written recently, the library could cost less than in 2005 or 2007— construction has slowed drastically which means contractors are much more eager to win jobs and have become more competitive in their bidding. Also, many materials are probably cheaper because demand is lower. I bet contractors themselves would verify this (even though they might not admit it on the record).

It would probably not be “corporations” that would donate large sums at this point, but individuals such as the Jacobses, who gave $120 million to San Diego Symphony. I suspect that there are individuals of considerable wealth who are still giving to causes they feel most passionate about.

Lewis gathered a lot of relevant material, but his slant against the new main library completely misses the point: the value (not quantifiable) of this building to the lives of San Diegans.

Visit the new Encinitas library on a Sunday afternoon (even during prime football season) and you’ll be amazed. The parking lot is full, and all sorts of people are inside reading, researching, working on laptops, attending lectures and performances. Same at Carlsbad’s Dove Library.

Now that downtown is a true neighborhood of 24/7 residents, a library is a key piece of making it an even better place to live in the years ahead. And there are many San Diegans in outlying areas who will ride convenient mass transit to visit a new downtown library.

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