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History of Placentia Library

A Miscellany of Placentia Library History

1919 October First Library Board of Trustees meeting held at 8:00 P.M. at the home of Board member Mrs. ma Hunt Robinson.

1920 January Library opened as Library Reading Room. Attendant paid $.25 an hour. Original materials purchased from Rev. N.M. Goodell for $69.40. These included 31 periodicals and 6 newspapers - Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Express, Fullerton Tribune, Santa Ana Register, Placentia Courier, and The Anaheim (?) Plain Dealer. Rent paid on Reading Room facility was $30.00 per month. Hours were 2:00-5:00 P.M. and 7:00-9:00 P.M. every day but Sunday. Mrs. Rideout was the first employee and was hired to staff the Reading Room and act as janitor. If janitorial work required more time than that allotted to staff the Reading Room, she was paid an additional $.25 for every extra hour that she worked. Circulation policy: All magazines except for the current issue could be taken out for 1 week. Overdue fines were $:01 per day and magazines could not be renewed. Books could be taken out for 2 weeks and could be renewed. Overdue fines on books were $.03 per day. Began with 198 books received from the Boy’s Reading Room. March average daily patronage is 4 1/3 people. February Total number of books owned increases to 245 after 198 books are donated. May Miss Sara Rideout hired as first Librarian. Her salary is $60.00 per month + $2.00 for incidentals. October First board meeting held at new Library location. Fee of $1.00 must be paid for Library privileges by people who live outside the Library District. November Miss Harriet Dowling hired to fill position of Librarian. December Miss Olive Bailey hired as Librarian.

1921 April Library’s book collection valued at $1400.00 June Statistics: Attendance 1052 Adult books circulated 518 Adult magazines circulated 55 Juvenile books circulated 302 Juvenile magazines circulated 11 Books accessioned 100 Card holders registered 16 Total circulation 886 Total card holders 357

1922 September Library hours extended from 5:00-7:00 pm so that the Library is open continuously from 2:00-9:00 pm. September Library board decides to open Library from 2:00 - 5:00 pm on Sundays as a reading room only. No items will be checked out. Sunday attendant will be paid $1.00. Average Sunday attendance for first month is 2.5 adults and 8 children. Sunday attendance in November averages 2.5 adults and 7.5 children. December Motion made to take steps to acquire lot on the corner of Bradford Ave. and Center St. for a new Library building. The cost of the lot is $4200.00

1923 January Deposit of $100.00 is paid for the purchase of the lot. The deposit is paid with personal checks written by the three Library Board members.

1924 January Library joins the State Library Association. Membership dues are $5.00

1925 March Library joins the Chamber of Commerce. Membership fees are $12.00.

1926 September Mr. Wallace of Los Angeles chosen as the contractor for the new Library building. October Ground breaking ceremony held for new Library building. Local ministers and civic leaders are invited to speak. First shovel of earth was turned by Library Board President, Mrs. Dowling. This was followed by singing “America”. November Ceremony held for laying of cornerstone. Talk on the history of the Library covering the past 6 years is given by Mrs. Dowling. Items placed in cornerstone include transcript of speech by Mrs. Dowling, a silk flag, coins, and a picture of the County Supervisors

1927 February Moving day. First Board meeting in new Library. March Dedication ceremony for new Library. Speakers included Mr. Ferguson, State Librarian, and Mr. Carleton M. Winslow, the Library’s architect. The speeches were followed by a tour of the Library

1932 April Library Flag presented by the Native Daughters. June Effects of the Great Depression seen as salaries of Library employees are reduced. September Overdue fines raised to $.02 per day.

1933 February The signing of an oil lease with the Placentia Development Company approved May A pay shelf is installed to help raise money to buy new books June Library hours changed to 2:00 – 8:00 pm

1934 January Pay shelf raised $8.50. Fines collected $9.06. September Library open until 9:00 pm again.

1935 January Francis Shalles hired as Librarian at salary of $100.00 per month. The amount was also to cover the wages of an assistant with the exception of Sunday help.

1938 December First page hired.

1939 January Overdue notices sent out to patrons owing $.50 or more in fines. July Mrs. Battle, a WPA worker, hired. August Mae P. Barlass hired as an assistant.

1940 May Madeline Cochran hired as Librarian.

1941 December Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Library awaits instructions for emergency closings and blackout regulations. Current Library hours are 10:00 am – 9:00 pm.

1943 April Employee salaries raised as part of a war emergency plan. May Library hours changed to 10:00 am – 8:00 pm. July Mae P. Barlass hired as acting Librarian, and is later hired as Librarian.

1944 October Library’s 25th anniversary is celebrated with an open house.

1951 Branch Library is opened at La Jolla School.

1953 February Library Board approves the addition of phonograph records to the Library collection. August Virginia Carpenter hired.

1961 September Louise Crowe, later Louise Tracer hired as Librarian.

1962 Plans for children’s wing begun

1963 November Library closed in tribute to the late President, John F. Kennedy.

1964 New children’s wing completed. November Monthly book review sessions at the Library presented by Mrs. Scaraborough begin.

1965 May Library begins participating in the McNaughton Book program. July Overdue fines increased to $.05 per day.

1966 August Library joins Orange County Library System.

1967 September Selected books sent to McFadden School Library and the New High School Library on long-term loan.

1966 October “Largest collection of totem poles in the U.S.” given to Library by Mr. Charles Hunt.

1968 January Paperback collection started. September 16mm sound films added to collection.

1969 September Library celebrates its 50th anniversary. Tour of historical spots organized by Friends group as part of celebration.

1971 May David E. Snow appointed Library Director November Site of present Library building approved

1973 May Ground breaking ceremony for present Library building held

1974 March Friends of Placentia Library purchase piano for new building September Dedication of present Library building held. Ray Bradbury is the guest speaker. Dedication plaque reads “Dedicated for the cultural enrichment of the citizens of Placentia”. Summer Film program held at Library all summer October Placentia Rotary Club donates grandfather clock to Library

1977 April Library begins using a book security system Computer catalog system replaces the card catalog (1977-1978)

1978 April Dedication of the California Room. Virginia Carpenter is the guest speaker and she signs copies of her book “Placentia, a pleasant place to live”. June/July Library staff layed off and Library hours reduced following the passage of Proposition 13 (the Jarvis Initiative).

1979 December Placentia Library goes on-line with the Anaheim Public Library using a new computer based circulation system. Placentia Library District celebrates its 60th birthday

1980 April Cannonball found in 1902 donated to the Library by Bob Des Granges. October Library becomes provisional member of Literacy Volunteers of America.

1981 March Valencia High School donates back issues of the Tesoros, and the school newspaper El Tigre August Isadora Bower donates a cannonball to the Library

1983 May Wally “Famous” Amos, the national spokesman for Literacy Volunteers of America, is the guest speaker at the Annual Meeting of Literacy Volunteers of Placentia. A portion of the proceeds from the opening day sales at a new franchise is donated to the Library’s literacy program October Friends of Placentia Library begin their on-going book sale.

1984 California Literacy Campaign begins with headquarters in Placentia City Hall July First day’s proceeds from new “Famous Amos” franchise in Newport Beach donated to California Literacy Campaign – Placentia. 1985 November Books from the estate of Angelina Backs are donated to the Library and are placed in the California Room December The Library’s Literacy Center is dedicated.

1986 January A soft sculpture by Marjorie Trout, entitled “The Reading Tree”, is donated to the Library by the Friends of Placentia Library

1987 January The Friends of Placentia Library celebrate their 20th anniversary. September A video of the Library is made by a student from Fullerton College. October Library closed for one day to repair minor damage sustained during Whittier earthquake.

1988 August Library receives its second Literacy Campaign grant October Junior Great Books group is started. Fall Library is redecorated and slightly remodeled.

1989 September “Placentia Literacy Day” declared by the City of Placentia. October Library celebrates its 70th birthday. Jack Smith, a journalist with the Los Angeles Times, is the guest speaker. September Planning grant for “Gulf Arab States” exhibit received.

1990 Summer State budget of 1990/1991 reduces the Public Library Fund of 1990 by 20%. February Automatic doors installed at Library entrance.

1991 July David E. Snow retires as Library Director. Elizabeth Minter is hired as Library Director.

1992 February Audio-visual fees and video rental fees dropped June Videos and CDs moved to open shelving. Literacy Department is expanded into former AV area. December A microcomputer for use by the public is purchased by the Friends of Placentia Library in honor of David E. Snow, former Library Director.

1993 March California Room is renamed Placentia History Room August Library Board of Trustees reduces Library hours due to State budgetary problems. September New hours are implemented.

1994 January Friends sponsor an Author’s Luncheon. Ciji Ware is the guest speaker.