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Mountain View on the Move

Mtn. View Library turns 100: Celebrations culminate with author appearances and birthday bash


The latest Mountain View Public Library inside, top, and outside, left. The library will celebrate its centennial in September. It will mark the event with a birthday party and exhibit.

The Mountain View Public Library is getting ready to blow out 100 candles. An ongoing authors series, an exhibit about the library's history and a birthday party scheduled in September top the lineup of events commemorating the library's centennial.

This spring the library tailored its popular "Author! Author!" series to mark the 100th birthday, inviting local authors or authors who write about topics of local interest to give talks through September. All talks are free to the public.

Shirley Tallman, who writes historical mystery books set in old San Francisco, will present this month's talk - scheduled 7:30 p.m., June 29. She is the author of "Murder on Nob Hill" and "The Russian Hill Murders," featuring protagonist Sarah Woolson. Others scheduled include Mark Steinberg, a psychologist and author of "ADD: the 20-hour Solution," and nutritionist Gerta Endemann, author of "Fat Is Not the Enemy."

Librarians Amy O'Connor and Candy Bowers are working on another project in observance of the library's milestone. They are compiling a centennial memory book about the library's history and invite community members to share their memories. The scrapbook will be housed in the library's History Center.

"When we closed the old library and tore it down, the children's room had children write down their memories of the library," said Bowers, involved in nearly all of the celebratory events. "Now we're doing that for everyone."

Changing places

The library has had many homes in the course of its existence. The Women's Club originally founded the library as a reading room in the Rogers and Rogers building on Castro Street. The building housed a general store, the town's post office and at some point, had hotel rooms on its second story.

From 1910 to 1952 the library occupied part of the old city hall. Then for six years, it was located in "a very plain, unattractive storefront" in downtown Mountain View, Bowers said.

The library moved again, in 1958, to a one-story building at its present location.

In 1996, while the library occupied temporary quarters elsewhere, a larger building, designed by the architects who did the Monterey Bay Aquarium, was built to house the library's collection. It reopened in 1997. The 60,000-square-foot building is inviting with its many windows and open space. A winding staircase, oak detailing and pleasant color scheme add to its charm.

The library may have changed location numerous times, but some things have stayed the same.

"It's always been the center of the community," Bowers said. "It's always been a welcoming place, and the public has always supported the library."

Festivities ahead

In addition to the exhibit featuring historic photos of the library and its surroundings, a reunion is planned for anyone, young or old, who has ever attended storytime at the library. Storytime alumni are invited to share their memories during a get-together, the date for which is yet to be announced, Bowers said.

The library has scheduled a birthday party Sept. 24, which will be open to the public. The state librarian, the mayor and other local dignitaries are scheduled to attend.

A few days after the birthday celebration, members of Book Views, the library's book club, will discuss their favorite books from childhood and share childhood memories of visiting libraries, on Sept. 28.

"I expect some people will share memories of growing up in Mountain View, but it will be from all over," Bowers said.

Another group effort on the part of the librarians has been to compile a commemorative CD about the history of the library that will be available in the gift shop. The interactive CD will show how Mountain View and the library have grown and changed over the years. The CD will feature photos supplied by the History Center.

The Mountain View Public Library is located at 585 Franklin St. between Church and Mercy streets, around the block from Mountain View City Hall and the Center for Performing Arts. Library hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays though Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m., Sundays.

Submissions to the library's commemorative album may be made in person at the library or on the library's Web site.

For more information, call 903-6337 or log on to www.ci.mtnview.ca.us.

Staff writer Lauren McSherry contributed to this article.

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