San Leandro Free Public Library
Alameda County, CA Biographies





SAN LEANDRO FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY
No public institution in San Leandro is more generally appreciated by the people of the community than the free public library, which, under the wise and judicious supervision of the librarian, Miss Mary Brown, has steadily grown in popularity and general use. The library had its inception in 1905, when the San Leandro Board of Trade (which subsequently became the Chamber of Commerce) took official notice of the local need of such an institution and began soliciting public subscriptions for that purpose. The ladies' organization known as the Alm Mira Club gave the movement its active support and soon afterwards communicated with Andrew Carnegie, the result being that Mr. Carnegie gave ten thousand dollars for the building of a library, on condition that a fund equal to ten per cent of that amount should be raised annually by taxation for the support of the library. The donation and the condition were accepted by the officials of San Leandro, and the building was erected on the splendid lot which it now occupies, at 302 Estudillo avenue, the site being the gift of Talcott Patchin Cary. The building, which cost twelve thousand dollars, is of pressed brick and reinforced concrete, is of appropriate architectural design and well adapted to the purpose for which it is used, while the furnishings are in keeping with the building. It was formally established as a free public library by the board of library trustees on November 6, 1905, and Miss Mary Brown, who, as a member of the Alta Mira Club, had been actively interested in the consummation of the project, was appointed librarian. During this period W. P. Kimball, of Pasadena, gave valuable encouragement and practical help in the organization of the library. The interior furnishings of the library cost about three thousand dollars, which amount was subscribed by the citizens of San Leandro. Besides the main reading room, in which are to be found the leading newspapers and magazines, there is a large and beautifully equipped children's room and a thoroughly modern reference room, the shelves being stocked with a well selected list of books, covering practically every department of literature. In the basement is a large and well furnished auditorium, for public meetings, a men's club room, the librarian's workroom, and the hot air heating plant. Every year since the establishment of the library, there has been a steady increase in patronage until today there is real need of more room. Miss Brown is a native of St. Helena, Napa county, California Her heart is in her work here and to her efficient and capable service as librarian is very largely due the popularity of the institution, her courtesy and accommodating manner having won for her the friendship and good will of all who come in contact with her. The present library trustees are, A. B. Cary, president, Dr. C. H. Miller and Mrs. J. H. Garcia, Mrs. George J. Helms and Mr. Frank Bricker, secretary.

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


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