San Diego

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Central Library Tours

Want to See the World-Class Central Library?

As interest in the Central Library has grown, so has the interest in seeing the facility.

There are now multiple ways to experience all that this space has to offer.

Docent Guided Tours

  Docent guided tours are available upon request. To request a tour, please send your name, date and time of tour, number of people in your party, and group affiliation (if applicable) to [email protected] at least two weeks in advance of your desired tour date. Tours are subject to docent and staff availability.

General Tours

  • Take an hour tour and see the iconic San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common and the diversity of programs and services available in this amazing community treasure.
  • Highlights include:
    • three art installations;
    • Dr. Seuss-themed Sanford Children's Library;
    • beach-themed Pauline Foster Family Teen Center;
    • Helen Price Reading Room;
    • Society for American Baseball Research Center;
    • 3-D printing lab;
    • Art Gallery;
    • Marilyn and Gene Marx Special Collections Center; and
    • Qualcomm Dome Terrace.

Art Tours

  • Explore some of the 150 individual works of art from the Civic Art Collection, the largest display ever in the history of the Commission for Arts and Culture. 
  • Learn about the four permanent and site-specific art installations commissioned for the Central Library.
  • Enjoy a special look in the Hervey Family Rare Books Room. 
  • Finish in the Art Gallery with a look at rotating exhibitions. 
Tour requests should be for groups 4 or more and requests for small groups may be combined.  Please send request at least two weeks in advance for best possible availability. Submit your art tour request here

Architecture Tours

  • Learn about Rob Wellington Quigley's vision for the San Diego Central Library.
  • Highlights include:
    • Garden Courtyard;
    • Lobby;
    • Helen Price Reading Room;
    • Sculpture Garden;
    • Qualcomm Dome Terrace; and
    • Special Event Spaces, including the stunning Shiley Special Events Suite.

    Learn about the materials used and interior design used to make the San Diego Central Library an iconic civic building.

Tours for Educators and Group Visits

Register students for either the Children's Tour or Teen Tour, please read all group visit details before registering.

Children's Tours

  • The Children's Tour is appropriate for kids ages 5-11.
    Groups may include school classes, day cares, youth groups, clubs, scouting organizations, and more.
    This one-hour tour is led by specially trained Docents, highlights spaces and resources that specifically interest children.
    The tour is followed by a 15-minute orientation to library programs and services led by a Youth Services Librarian.

Teen Tours

  • Teen Tours take place on Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. They are designed for ages 12-18 (7th grade to 12th grade). Groups could include classes, recreation groups, clubs, summer programs and more. The suggested ratio of teens to chaperones is 10:1. The tour highlights spaces and programs in the library of specific interest to teens, including the Neil Morgan Auditorium, the Denny Sanford Children’s Library, the Union Bank Homework Center, and the IDEA Lab. Tours typically conclude in the Pauline Foster Teen Center where students can enjoy the space and technology available just for them.

Self-Guided and Virtual Tours

Self-Guided Tours

Virtual Tours

For other questions or concerns, call (619) 236-5800 or email [email protected]


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