The Library Shop is a fun and inspired gift shop located in the brand new San Diego Central Library. The shop is a non-profit owned by the San Diego Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the San Diego Library, so all proceeds go to benefit the entire library system. We recently worked with store Manager and Buyer, Erin Zlotnik, to create a custom Maptote of the Libraries of San Diego for the shop. See below for a little peek inside the store and to learn about some of Erin’s favorite things about San Diego!
Q: How would you describe your store aesthetic?
A: The store is a cross between a museum store and a funky local boutique. I want it to feel warm and inviting to the library’s guests. I try to support local artisans whenever possible, so we stock a lot of San Diego-made items as well as things I find through curated sites like Scoutmob.
Q: Why do you love your city or neighborhood?
A: I love where the new San Diego library is located. We’re right in the heart of the East Village, which is an urban neighborhood just east of the Gaslamp quarter, next to Petco Park. It feels like new restaurants are opening all the time, and the streets are full of young people and their dogs. It’s a lively, walkable neighborhood and there are no other gift stores nearby.
Q: When not in your store, where is the next most likely place you’d be?
A: When not in my store, I can probably be found either lounging with a book at Coronado Beach, or wandering the 30th and University corridor in North Park, home to many of my favorite restaurants, bars, boutiques and coffee shops.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant in your city/neighborhood?
A: My favorite restaurant in San Diego? That’s so hard! The food scene here is really good these days. For pizza, I love Blind Lady Ale House. For a date with my husband, I always love the outdoor patio at Jayne’s Gastropub. And for coffee, I’m partial to the pour-over brew at Roast Coach, which has a little stand near the library downtown.
Q: If there is one thing someone “must do” when they visit your area, what would you recommend?
A: Must-do’s in San Diego include hiking Torrey Pines cliffs in La Jolla, walking the beach in Coronado and ending with a drink at the Hotel del Coronado, taking the San Diego Zoo Skyfari over Balboa Park, and maybe a trip to one of our many up-and-coming breweries for a beer tasting!
Q: What was the inspiration/motivation to open the store?
A: The inspiration for opening our store came from the excitement over opening such a stunning new library downtown. Our community waited for this to be built for many years, and there was a definite thought that tourists might want to take home something special from their visit. I was hired just a few months before opening and I immediately saw the potential to make the space a really beautiful shop in a neighborhood that seemed ready for it. The fact that we give back to the library just makes it even more rewarding.
Q: What’s next for you/your store? Any upcoming sales/events?
A: We just had a big promotion for Small Business Saturday, which was really successful. I love that people are excited about the “shop local” movement! Next up will be getting through the holidays, and then we’ll turn our focus to spring events. We have some great non-conventional author events in the works, as well as some craft days and much more. Since we’re brand new, we’re trying to think outside the box and try things that haven’t been done before, especially at a library!
Q: What blogs/magazines do you follow?
A: I don’t read as many blogs as I used to before I took this job, but I enjoy Simple Lovely, Sprouted Kitchen, Sweetfineday and 101 Cookbooks. I also love Thug Kitchen, though I read it more for the laughs than the recipes! For magazines, I stick to the basics: Sunset, Bon Appetit and Kinfolk.
Q: Where do you find all of your products?
A: I find my products in a variety of ways: through sales reps with great small lines and through Etsy and Scoutmob. I also meet local vendors around town who sell in the shop. And then there are lines I find when I’m out shopping in other places. If I love something enough to bring it home, it’s a fair assumption some of my customers will love it, too.