San Diego's Central Library opened in 2013 as a shiny, $185 million project in the East Village. Half a dozen years later, the library gets 3,000 visitors a day to read books and to use computers but also to seek refuge from the streets.
"We are kind of the last resort for so many people. We are the only place that they can come," City Librarian Misty Jones said.
"Sometime you see people who are really struggling the most vulnerable people in our population. So that's our homeless. people who have substance abuse problems. Mental illness. and then what we call that very unfortunate trifecta and that's all three."
A recent suicide inside the library is a worst-case example of what library staffers deal with on a consistent basis.
Security and serving the homeless are becoming priorities not just in downtown San Diego but in libraries across the country.
Katie Devlin and Kara Heretakis work for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and now, they work at the library five hours a day, five days a week.
NBC 7 saw them talking with people inside the library and at times, offering help or resources.
Watch the San Diego Explained clip below to learn more about changes being made at the San Diego Central Library.