Your Library :: Bio Lab


The La Jolla/RIford Library’s Life Science Collaboratory is quite possibly the first biology lab inside a public library anywhere in the world. The facility is part of our Innovation Space that also includes a 3D Printing Lab.

What is the Bio Lab? Working with community biology enthusiasts, the library has created a work space to support educational workshops, demos and talks about the Life Sciences. Qualified volunteers from local biotechnology firms, research institutions and DIY bio-enthusiasts are supplying programs to educate the public about the Life Sciences and encourage civic debate and interest in this revolutionary field. It is part of an Innovation Space that also includes 3D printers and a 50-person capacity classroom. This Basic Safety Level 1 Laboratory offers equivalent equipment to a high school laboratory. The lab is only open when a qualified library volunteer is present who has gone through the City of San Diego’s orientation and background check process. Citizen scientists with The Wet Lab Group advised on the set up of the lab and created the first programs including a monthly workshop and lecture. We continue to partner with the Wet Lab as part of our advisory board as a non-profit group of dedicated scientists committed to the idea that biology should be made accessible to the general public. We are also partnering with the Salk Institute which is putting on workshops and talks at the library to bring basic biotech knowledge and skills to the general public, Biomimicry San Diego, the San Diego Barcode of Life initiative and others.

Why is the library doing this? As a trusted public forum, the library aims to give non-scientists the tools to engage in civic debate on the emerging revolution in the Life Sciences that is going to touch all of our lives. An enduring tenet of libraries is that an informed public with free and open access to information is a cornerstone of democracy.  Our mission is to inspire lifelong learning, be technology facilitators and guides to the future. As a department of the City of San Diego we also aim, through fun and educational workshops, to encourage an interest in the sciences among young people who might one day form the backbone of this economic driver. With its innovation spaces in La Jolla and downtown, the library is furthermore providing the tools for local entrepreneurs to develop their ideas outside of a corporate or educational institution.

How can you help? By supporting the Friends of La Jolla Library you can help support workshops, after school programming and mentoring for science fair projects. To discuss naming rights for our Innovation Laboratory, please contact us.

La Jolla Cove Microbial Diversity Project


La Jolla Cove is an iconic swimming beach popular with tourists and locals. Known for its abundant marine mammals, sea birds and fish, and its neighboring busy urban area, the Cove is a microcosm for the complex interactions between humans and wildlife.

Although La Jolla’s marine wildlife is famous, the micro-organisms that populate the water are a mystery. San Diego County routinely tests the water for a small number of bacterial species that are associated with sewage pollution. However, this is certainly just scratching the surface since ocean water is a complex ecosystem with potentially millions of diverse types of bacteria. 

The La Jolla Cove Microbial Diversity Project will use cutting edge genomic sequencing technologies to survey every species in the water. We propose to sample water from the Cove and nearby swimming beaches, extract DNA, and use sequencing to understand how the unique biological environment, including the presence of humans and marine mammals, affects the ecosystem. The results of the study will be shared directly with the community through seminars and workshops at the Library.

To support this or other projects at the library's Bio Lab, click here to donate directly to this fund.  Please write Bio Lab in the designation field. We thank you for your support!


3D Lab Partners with Cabrillo Monument

Recently the La Jolla Library, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Cabrillo National Monument collaborated on 3D Cabrillo a multifaceted educational resource and experience available to educators both near and far. 

Utilizing a special imagining program to create biomodels of many of the prominent organisms found in the Rocky Intertidal Zone of Cabrillo Monument, the participants were able to connect nature and technology. Free downloadable versions of these models are available to the public on their website at the 3D Cabrillo Biomodel Library. These models can be produced on any 3D printer, such as those available through the San Diego public library system.

The goal of this initiative is to highlight the public’s important role in awareness and stewardship of our public lands, a tenant inherent in the very mission of the Park Service. By connecting nature and technology, they look to foster excitement in the next generation of environmental stewards.