A Library for the Automobile’s Future

Berg family automotive library

The San Diego Automotive Museum continuously enhances itself internally and externally to serve as a hub for automotive enthusiasts, a community leader in career technical education, and a valuable resource for automotive research. After three years of planning and preparation, the Automotive Library began an overhaul to preserve the automotive industry’s legacy for the future.

In early 2020, the San Diego Automotive Museum’s Board of Directors and the then-newly hired CEO Lenny Leszczynski recognized the need to renovate the library facility and stabilize, preserve, and digitize the archive. Three years later, the demolition and rebuilding began.

The Automotive Library’s renovation was made possible by a generous gift from the Berg Family Trust. The newly named Berg Family Library will open to the public in the winter of 2023, with its official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Tuesday, January 16, 2024.

Thanks to the generous contribution of the Dunn Family, the Skeets Research Lab will provide easy access for scholars and students to find the publications they need. Researchers who are unable to visit the Berg Family Library in person can access parts of the Skeets Research Lab and collection digitally.

Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects designed the modern facility, while Barnhart-Reese Construction Company is overseeing the construction of the Berg Family Library remodel and building of the Skeets Research Center. Barnhart-Reese has been committed to supporting the Museum for the past three years.

The Library last underwent an upgrade in 1988, which included the installation of drop ceilings and a card catalog to facilitate archive searches. However, over time, the Library began to be overlooked by visitors.

As part of the redesign, the Berg Family Library will have a more inviting entrance. Guests will be encouraged to explore the Library during their visit, as it is a featured aspect of the Museum. Additionally, the renovation will greet guests into a bright, user-friendly space with automotive artifacts on display and an area for Career Technical Education Academy youth to meet with their mentors and study their automotive vocation.

The Museum’s collection contains manufacturer publications on specs and components of automobiles dating back over 100 years, auto racing, and the histories of motor companies, to name a few. The extensive automotive-related publications include over 4,000 books, nearly 40,000 magazines, and over 3,000 repair manuals. Before the renovation, the collection occupied two rooms: the Library and a closet. This renovation encompasses the entire volume into one location, with the capacity to increase the collection by 25%.

When the Berg Family Library becomes accessible to the public, the Museum will offer library cards to underserved youth who want to study the automotive industry. These library cards will enable access to the Museum at no cost to the youth.

We are thrilled that the Berg Family Library and the Skeets Research Lab will soon be open to the public!


author avatar
Esteban Villanueva