CSUSM Library Receives Foundational Gifts for Special Collections Expansion


Illustration courtesy of Office of Comunication

Drafts of the 2.5 million project expect for the gallery to promote interaction between students and the special collection.

Marbella Ramirez, Editor in Chief

Kellogg Library has received a generous gift from Greg Koch and the Ecke family for a promising Special Collections Department redevelopment project, kicking off a fundraiser for a projected 2.5 million dollar project. 

The 8,200-square-foot renovation project has been drafted by architecture firm LPA for the library’s fifth floor. The project is designed to feature a grand entrance from the fifth-floor elevator. An exhibit gallery will be constructed to display physical and digital archive elements. 

A special event space will be included in this development, allowing for celebrations, seminars, and presentations. In addition, a reading room will be opened opposite the gallery to allow for secure interaction with archival material.

“In a short time, we’ve made great strides to preserve the history of our region, especially that of North San Diego County, and this space will allow our communities to converge around a common purpose: to keep community stories alive,” said Jennifer Fabbi, dean of the CSUSM library.

Aside from the various literary collections, the California State University San Marcos library houses an archive dedicated to the preservation of local culture, including archives of old-school newspapers, San Marcos development photos, and, surprisingly, San Marcos’ brewing history. 

This project aims to expand the space for those collections and make them accessible to the public. These collections are dubbed special, referring to the rarity and, in most cases, irreplaceable nature of the documents. 

Currently, the collection occupies a space on the first floor of the library, almost tucked away from the public eye. The collections are mainly confined to storage, with only one viewing table for items to be displayed. 

Among the special collections, the Brewchive is a collection detailing San Diego’s craft brewing history from 1980 to the present. The Brewchive was launched in 2017 and features the rise of Stone Brewery, established in San Marcos in 1996, the brewing company of which Greg Koch is co-owner and co-founder with Steve Wagner. Koch has donated items from his personal collection to the archive.

I love that [history of craft brewing in San Diego] is being appreciated and housed at CSUSM, near where Stone and so many great craft breweries started. This project is going to bring the Brewchive® out of the basement and invite the community in to interact with it, maybe even try a couple of vintage recipes,” Koch said.

The Ecke family also contributed to the special collections through their Paul Ecke Ranch, Inc. Business Records and Family Papers collection 10 years ago. In this collection, the family documents their legacy and influence on the region through the popularization of the poinsettia and other flowers after their immigration from Germany to Southern California in the early 1900s.

“We appreciate that CSUSM recognized the importance of preserving North County’s history and is making it a priority,” Paul Ecke III, Lizbeth Ecke and Sara Ecke May said. “Our family’s legacy is part of that, and we like that students will have access to it and faculty members can use special collections in their classes. The exhibits area in this new space – where history will be on display – is exciting to us.”

The project has barely begun its fundraising stage; however, many of the archive’s collections can be found online through the CSUSM Library homepage at https://archives.csusm.edu/. Until then, consultation is recommended before visiting the archives.