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Central Library - History

Library services in Glendale were first provided in 1906. The women of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, a social and philanthropic organization, raised money through a series of lectures to fund a library collection. The library opened in a renovated pool room at Third and E (Wilson and Everett) Streets with seventy books, soon supplemented by a State Traveling Library of fifty more, and served a population of 1,186.

In 1907, the City Trustees passed Ordinance 53 which established and supported a library which "...shall be forever free to the inhabitants and nonresident taxpayers of the City of Glendale..." The first year the library had 251 books, 165 registered patrons, and a budget of $248.88.

In 1913, a Carnegie grant of $12,500 made possible the construction of the main library at Kenwood and Fifth (Harvard Street). The building was completed and dedicated November 13, 1914.

The building was enlarged in 1926. Between 1940 and 1942, two side wings were added, one becoming a children's library called the Hans Christian Andersen Room and the other housing Readers' Service.

The present Central Library building opened on March 13, 1973, on the former site of Glendale Union High School and Glendale College. With 92,600 square feet it had over four times the floor space of the old structure. The next twenty years saw major changes in the City of Glendale and in library technology. By the late 1980's, it became clear that the Library needed to be renovated. Construction began in late 1992.

The latest remodel has brought library users a larger Children's Room and a separate Audio Visual area. The new upper level includes an expansion of the Special Collections room to accommodate the valuable historical information housed there.

The redesign of the Reference and Circulation areas has been specifically oriented toward better customer service. The creation of a Business Collection area and a Job Center recognizes Glendale's position as the third largest business center in California. The Central Library is now ready to serve the city's information and recreation needs into the 21st century.

Last modified: Thursday, February 09, 2012 12:38:48 PM

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