"Imagine the City of Salinas as a place of peace and community engagement on the importance of learning, where every child, student and resident of Salinas has a library card, and goes to a library every week, and every student knows how to read due to the infusion of literacy and reading programs available at every library for them and their families."
Elizabeth Martinez, Library Director
Our StoryIn 1907, the Salinas Civic Club, later to be known as the Salinas Women’s Club, wrote to Andrew Carnegie requesting $10,000 to create a public library. They raised another $4,000, acquired a site, added the books from the Odd Fellows, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and Daughters of the American West libraries, and opened the Carnegie Public Library on September 5, 1909.
98 years later there are three Salinas libraries – John Steinbeck, Cesar Chavez, and El Gabilan – open seven days a week with a collection of over 225,000 books, magazines, newspapers, online databases, books on CD, music CDs, DVDs, videos, government documents, and other materials.
The Library survived closure in 2005, created national and state visibility, and local expectations, and was featured in the movie The Hollywood Librarian. The residents of Salinas formed Rally Salinas, and passed Measure V to fund all Library operations for 10 years. The expectations of local officials, stakeholders, community members, and others are that the Library will restore hours, and that literacy programs, and other new programs for youth and adults will be provided. The residents of Salinas are waiting to see what their Measure V taxes will provide.
We have many assets including a Library Commission, Friends of the Salinas Public Library (FOSPL) who raise thousands of dollars to enhance children’s programs and library events, partnerships with many community organizations and foundations, and 42 extraordinarily-dedicated employees.
The Library will observe a Centennial Year beginning in September 2008 and ending in September 2009. This will be the opportunity to celebrate the rich history of the Library and the people of Salinas, highlight over 5,000 historic photographs, Boronda paintings of old Salinas adobes, oral histories of prominent residents, historical papers, records and other documents, and much more. The Library will be the catalyst for public programs on the people and places of Salinas, and will document this in a fine print commemorative book. Programs, exhibits, displays, merchandise, and memories will create a venue for the discussion of the last hundred years, and the next hundred years. The Centennial voices of children, youth and adults will become part of the new collection of voices in the Library.
To encourage reading, the appreciation of books, and to provide materials and services to help members of the community meet their personal, informational, educational, and cultural needs.