Need a wedding venue? Try the San Diego Central Library

SAN DIEGO - San Diego couples are getting hooked by the books at the new Central Library, as declarations of eternal love are made amidst the sweeping views of the city and bay from its ninth floor.

Thirty-five weddings have been booked for this year at the Shiley Special Events Suite, said Library Director Deborah Barrow in a report to the City Council's Budget Committee.

One marriage booking has already been made for 2016, and requests for matrimonial ceremonies are coming in at a rate of 10 per month, she said.

"You can find everything at the library including, surprisingly, romance," Barrow told City News Service.

Evidence for that, she said, is inscribed on many of the bricks purchased to raise funds for the library's -- inscriptions from people saying they fell in love or popped the question at a library.

The Central Library opened on Park Boulevard Sept. 30, and apparently is joining the grounds of the County Administration Building, the Prado in Balboa Park and the beach outside the Hotel del Coronado as public areas popular with people tying the knot.

Besides the usual collection of books, artifacts and computers, the Central Library includes seven locations where special events can be held.

"The demand for these spaces has been very high and it is anticipated that the Central Library will continue to be one of the most sought-after spaces for special events in San Diego," Barrow says in her report, which will be presented Wednesday.

More than 70 events were booked at the library through January of this year, including author talks, luncheons, concerts and bar mitzvahs, generating $41,000 in revenue. Another 70 are booked through the end of this fiscal year on June 30, which will generate an additional $100,000 in income, according to the library director.

A first-year special event revenue goal of $150,000 will probably be met, she said.

Barrow conceded that the library staff has had to iron out some kinks. They've had to learn which types of events fit best into a particular space and had to adjust schedules to make sure there is enough staff on hand during events.

Other challenges have been how to balance normal library services with special event demands, addressing customer expectations of low fees or free use, and coordinating permitting with other city departments, she said.

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