Celebrate Central Library in May

May of 2015 marks 20 years since a vision in bright red forever changed the downtown skyline of the Alamo City- the Central Library. The building received its modernist touch by Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and his San Antonio partners – including the renowned Davis Sprinkle.

The 240,000-square-foot- Central Library opened back in May of 1995 with a celebration that included a community parade, family activities and remarks by then Mayor Nelson Wolff and the late Legorreta.

Fast-forward 20 years and we take a moment to celebrate and reflect on 20 years of success and hard work, by listening to a few of those involved in the development of what’s now the flagship library of the San Antonio Public Library System.

Listen to the below audio files for some interesting perspectives on the past, present and future of Central Library.

Central Library

Central_Fiesta_popout_graphic_webBack in 1991, the San Antonio Public Library Board recommended the purchase of the downtown Sears store located at Soledad and Navarro streets, which started a process that would bring the new Central Library to San Antonio. Ramiro Salazar, Director of the San Antonio Public Library, talks about the unique Central Library building and its significance. Listen to Salazar and learn more about Central Library.

Building Central Library

library_bld_construction2Architect Davis Sprinkle, who partnered with Ricardo Legorreta, talks about the process of designing the bright red fixture that would change San Antonio’s downtown skyline forever. Listen to Sprinkle and learn more about building Central Library.

The Grand Opening

opening2The City of San Antonio celebrated the grand opening of Central Library on May 20, 1995 with a community parade, family activities and official remarks by then Mayor Nelson Wolff and Ricardo Legorreta. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff talks about those moments and the importance of Central Library. Listen to Judge Wolff and learn more about Central Library.

Central Library used in film “Selena”


Back in 1996, Central Library is used to represent a location in Mexico for a scene in the film Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez.

Acquisition of “Fiesta Tower”

IMG_9234Tracey Ramsey Bennett, the President of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, talks about the process of acquiring and installing the beautiful glass sculpture designed by Dale Chihuly at Central Library, back in 2003. According to Bennett, Dale Chihuly always wanted to have one of his works of art in a building designed by Ricardo Legorreta. Listen to Bennett and learn more about the “Fiesta Tower.”

More insight about “Fiesta Tower”

P1010394Nicolas Hollis, former Chairman of the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, brings his insight about the acquisition of the “Fiesta Tower” by Dale Chihuly and its tie to the 100th anniversary of the San Antonio Public Library, back in 2003. Listen to Hollis and learn more about the “Fiesta Tower.”

Central Plaza

IMG_0162Back in 2012, Central Library opened a new plaza on Augusta Street. Assistant Director Dale McNeill talks about this wonderful plaza that includes a stage and a garden for outdoor events. Listen to McNeill and learn more about the plaza.

First San Antonio Book Festival

903164_556140461073889_942597765_oKaty Flato, Executive Director of the San Antonio Book Festival, talks about the first Book Festival in San Antonio, back in 2012. Flato comments about the decision to anchor the event at Central Library and the author who significantly contributed to bringing people to the festival in its first edition. Listen to Flato and learn more about the San Antonio Book Festival.

Connect Training Center

IMG_6149Librarian II Julia Selwyn, with the San Antonio Public Library Reference Department, gives an overview of the latest updates and classes. Selwyn also shares an anecdote about the type of assistance available at the center. Listen to Selwyn and learn more about Connect Training.

Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center

Space - 04.2015. - JMPaula Owen, President of the Southwest School of Art, comments about the inception of the Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center as the Library of Reference for the school. Owen provides insight about the partnership with SAPL and the impact of the Marie Swartz Center. Listen to Owen and learn more about the Marie Swartz Art and Resource Center.

Latino Collection

IMG_2071Dr. Ellen Riojas Clark talks about the official dedication of a space for the ever-growing Latino Collection in June of 2014 at Central Library. The collection will relocate to the first floor of the Central Library in 2016. Listen to Dr. Riojas Clark and learn more about this collection.

Café Commerce

Unknown-2Peter French, President of Café Commerce, talks about his organization’s impact on the local business community and programs they have, such as 1 Million Cups. Did you know that Café Commerce is industry agnostic? Listen to French and learn more about Café Commerce.

New Teen Library

Entrance to SAPL Teen CenterJennifer Velasquez, Teen Services Coordinator, talks about the new Teen Library, dedicated to San Antonio’s youth. Those between 13 to 18 years of age will enjoy cool new features that allow creation, design and the recording of artistic expression that explore the confines of creativity. Listen to Velasquez and learn more about the new Teen Library.

Posted on May 13, 2015, in PR. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Linda Persyn

    Happy Birthday Sam Antonio Public Library! At almost 70 years old, I have spent many happy days within your walls, first in the heart of downtown as a 5 year old whose mother took her there every 2 weeks. From age 10 through high school, it was San Pedro Park and Landa Library Branches. As an adult, it was researching genealogy with my mother back downtown. Finally, it was researching local and state history at the Texana Room, 6th floor, Encihlada Red Library. Thank you for all of those wonderful times and memories!

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