the subterranean addition , however . If anyone knows the ins and outs of Geisel Library , it ’ s Mike Mogelinski , a former student who would oversee the building ’ s maintenance for 40 years , starting as a chemistry and physics major in 1979 .
“ When I started working at the Library as a student , it was an exciting time ,” says Mogelinski . “ I think back then , students got to do a lot of different things . I remember going to a meeting in the chancellor ’ s office one day , and putting labels on books the next .”
Mogelinski recalls a day in July 1986 , when San Diego felt the effects of a 5.4 earthquake centered off the coast of Oceanside . He was on campus that day , and felt quite a jolt . He was amazed to see the Library building sway gently , “ as if it was doing a hula dance ,” he says .
Besides the dance , many shelves of books also tumbled to the ground .
Although it seems unbelievable now , one of his regular assignments early on was emptying the dozens of ashtrays scattered throughout the building . “ Just imagine ,” he chortles . “ Everyone smoked , there was no air filtration system , and the windows didn ’ t open . On top of that , there was no fire prevention — no sprinkler system . We ’ re lucky we survived !”
This practice didn ’ t last long — well before UC banned smoking throughout its campuses , the Library prohibited tobacco use in public spaces . Before that time , Mogelinski recalls the abundance of cigarette machines , as well as sandwich , soda , and ice cream vending .
It was truly an era of change inside and out . The construction and renovation efforts of the late 1980s ended up adding approximately 200,000 square feet and brought the building up to date with new HVAC systems , numerous seismic reinforcements , and of course , a sprinkler system .
The next decade would bring a different kind of update — a new name . Known over the years as Central Library — or “ Not-So-Central ” to those students who watched the structure arise seemingly in the middle of nowhere — in 1992 , the Library received a treasure trove of art , sketches , and early manuscripts of Theodor Seuss Geisel , also known as Dr . Seuss . In 1995 , the building was renamed for Ted and Audrey Geisel in honor of their contributions to the university . Though Ted Geisel passed away in 1991 and Audrey in 2018 , their memories live on in the form of a standing exhibit of Geisel ’ s art and illustrations and the 2016 addition of Audrey ’ s , the building ’ s first café .
High Points in Geisel Library History
Construction of Central
University Library completed . The
building was dedicated on March
20 , 1971 . “ The heart of intellectual
life at the university ,” said
acting chancellor , Herbert F . York .
Library volumes reach 1 million .
Today , the Library provides access
to more than 7 million digital and
print volumes , journals , and
multimedia materials .
Stuart Collection ’ s “ Trees ” by
Terry Allen installed . Metal-clad
trees ( some of which “ speak ”) are
peppered around the grounds .
The “ silent tree ” in front of the
Library ’ s entrance plaza soon
becomes the starting point for
student protests .
Carillon ( electronic chimes
that ring the hour ) donated by
Joe Rubinger . Alumnus Scott
Paulson ’ 88 has been the sole
university carillonneur since
1994 . Go behind the scenes with
him on the library rooftop :
tritonmag . com / chimes
View the comprehensive timeline and more at geisel50 . ucsd . edu