Imperial Beach Library Wins People’s Choice Orchid Award

Image Credit: Stephen Whalen Photography

The County’s new Imperial Beach Library was the popular favorite in the 2017 Orchids and Onions awards, announced Thursday by the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

Orchids are awarded annually to the best architectural works in San Diego County, and Onions to those on the opposite end of the spectrum. Design professionals and artists choose most of the winners (and losers) from nominations submitted by the public.

The People’s Choice Orchid award goes to the entry that creates the most positive ”buzz” in comments submitted online by the public.

“The Imperial Beach community played a big role in making the new library what it is today,” said San Diego County Library Director Migell Acosta. “The County made sure to get residents’ input at every turn because libraries aren’t just book centers anymore, they are hubs for the community.”

The new facility opened in April and measures almost 15,000 square feet, nearly three times the size of the old building. The architecture and interior design feature a beach-like theme reflecting the community where it’s located. The roof looks like a breaking wave, and reminders of the nearby shore are highlighted inside and outside the building.

The atmosphere is casual and prompted one librarian to dub the new facility, the flip-flop library. You can come in right off the beach in your flip-flops and enjoy the stacks of library materials, comfy seating areas and more.

IB LibraryThe building offers a teen space with study rooms, children’s and family area, a computer lab and a community conference room.

The new library was also built with sustainability in mind. It is the County’s second zero-net-energy building. The County’s Alpine Library was the first and opened in May 2016.

“Zero-net-energy means all the energy required for the building is produced onsite,” said County General Services Director Marko Medved. “The Imperial Beach Library was also built to gold level LEED standards.”

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and acts as a rating system for green buildings.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact