Berkeley Public Library
Alameda County, CA Biographies





BERKELEY PUBLIC LIBRARY
The City of Berkeley is proud of its progressive library, which is rendering a distinctive service to the community. It had its beginning in 1893, in the Holmes Library, supported by subscription. The town trustees, in 1895, voted to make it a public library. The Berkeley Public Library accordingly was established in 1895, in rented quarters, with a collection of about two thousand eight hundred volumes.

The first trustees were, T. K. Shattuck, A. W. Naylor, Thomas Addison, Henry W. Taylor, and H. D. Irwin, all prominent in the early history of Berkeley. Mr. Irwin was a faithful and efficient member of the library board for twenty six years. At the time of his death in 1926, he was president of the board.

In 1903 Andrew Carnegie made an offer of forty thousand dollars for a library building on condition that the city provide a site, and that an appropriation equal to ten per cent of the gift be made for maintenance. Mrs. Rosa Shattuck at once offered a lot on Shattuck avenue and Kittredge street, and the town trustees voted the appropriation. Mr. John Galen Howard was appointed architect. Berkeley's first library building was opened to the public on February 22, 1905, with a collection of eighteen thousand two hundred and twelve volumes.

David R. Moore was the first librarian, serving until his death in May, 1914. Under his administration the library grew to a collection of fifty one thousand well used volumes. Mr. Moore was succeeded by Carleton B. Joeckel, under whose direction the library made great advancement. The circulation was more than tripled during his administration, and three handsome branch libraries were erected. Mr. Joeckel was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, and received the degree of Bachelor of Library Science from the New York State Library School. He came to Berkeley to accept the position of assistant reference librarian of the University of California Library, and became librarian of the Berkeley Public Library in 1914, holding this position until his resignation in 1928, to become associate professor of library science in the library school of the university of Michigan. In 1919-1920, he was president of the California Library Association, and later was a member of the executive committee of the C. L. A. He was a veteran of the World war, rising to the rank of captain, and was wounded in the Argonne. He was active in matters affecting the welfare of Berkeley, and his resignation as librarian was greatly regretted. Miss Olive Burroughs was appointed acting librarian at the time of Mr. Joeckel's going on leave of absence in June, 1927.

The Claremont Branch Library was opened in a school building in 1909, the North Berkeley and the Ashby Branches in 1911 and 1913, respectively, both in rented quarters.

The new West Berkeley Branch building was opened for use in 1923, the Claremont Branch building in 1924, and the South Berkeley Branch building in 1927. The South Berkeley Branch combines in one modern plant the former Ashby and South Berkeley Branches. In addition to four full time branches, the library operates one part time branch in the Hawthorne School.

By a popular vote in 1925, the citizens of Berkeley authorized an increase of four cents on the hundred dollars, over the existing tax rate for a library building fund, for a period of four years. The imperative need for an adequate Main Library building had been evident for many years. The city council levied the additional tax and funds are accruing for the new library building. The library personnel includes the librarian and twenty five full time assistants.

From:
History of Alameda County, California
BY: Frank Clinton Merritt
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago, Ill 1928


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