The history of Mission Library

As you know, the Mission Library will be on the Historic Home Tour this year, and we couldn’t be more excited! Here’s a brief history of the building, written by Mary Hanel.


A public library was first established by the Santa Clara Board of Town Trustees in November 1903, opening in two rented rooms in the Franck Building at 1047 Franklin Street. In 1914, the Library was assigned permanent quarters on the second floor of the newly erected City Hall at Franklin & Washington Streets. However, it was not until October 1953 that a trained, professional librarian, Miss Frances Klune, was appointed to head the Library. Miss Klune was the driving force for establishing a dynamic program of library services, which included investment in a separate library building.


Designed by architects, Higgins and Root, it was built in 1955 in Santa Clara’s historic Plaza Park. The building, 7900 square feet, was constructed at a cost of $100,660 including basement, patios, walls, fences and shelving, opening with a collection of 19,000 books. The general contractor was Morrison Reese and The Rotary Club of Santa Clara volunteered to landscape the grounds around the library building. When the building was dedicated on October 30, 1955, it was described in this way, “…its large patio and glass walls, revives the spirit of the gracious way of life of Mission Days. Designed in accord with the tradition of early California, the building with its warm colors and rich textures gives an atmosphere of quiet tranquillity.”


First called the Santa Clara Public Library, when a Central Library opened on Homestead Road in 1967, this building became known as Mission Branch Library. In a project to remove asbestos, the library was remodeled in spring 1989. In 1994 the Parks & Recreation Department oversaw the construction of a gazebo in Plaza Park to be reminiscent of the bandstand that was once there from the early 1900s through the mid-1950s. In late 1999, the library was closed for remodeling so that it could re-open in November 2000 as the Mission Library Family Reading Center, serving as both a neighborhood library for the Old Quad and headquarters for the library’s Read Santa Clara literacy programs.


The Mission Library is once again in the process of a renovation and remodel project working with Noll & Tam Architects. As a bonus site on this year’s Home Tour, the library will be sharing both a photo exhibit of its historic past and its renovation plans.

Summer Reading Participants

Summer reading was great this year! We had more programs, more participants, and it looks like way more fun.

See? Way more participants.

A big thanks to Keypoint for supporting the Summer Reading Program! Kate Degelau-Pierce, Keith Stattenfield, Paul Sims, CJ McCarthy, and Doron Noyman pose with the big check.
2016 ND Prom

She looks so happy!
2016 ND Prom

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’m pretty sure it involves hitting those big plastic tubes together.
2016 ND Prom

The San Jose Giants always come out, and it’s a big hit.
2016 ND Prom

How high can you stack cups?
2016 ND Prom

Making your own emoji pillows is the best.
2016 ND Prom

Two future scientists in the making!
2016 ND Prom

Reading is fundamental, y’all.
2016 ND Prom

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Summer Reading programs or read books as part of Summer Reading! Our (and other) Summer Reading programs help stop the summer slide that can happen when children aren’t in school during the summer break.

If you want to help support Summer Reading and other programs at Santa Clara City Library, please donate today! We couldn’t make this happen without you.

Book Sale Tomorrow!


Our last Saturday Sale of 2016 is tomorrow! This will be a great time to stock up on holiday gifts for all the book and music lovers in your life. We’ll have lots of fiction, non-fiction, foreign language, and children’s books for sale.

We’ve also had a small but quality donation of comic books! Come to the patio sale starting at 10am to find your favorite Marvel and other superheroes. We’d love to send these to a good home.

And we have a box of vinyl for sale! There are some classical music, some showtunes, and a handful of Bob Dylan records. If this is your thing, stop by early because these sell quickly.

We hope to see you there!

November is Family Literacy Month

The Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends funds family literacy programs through grants and donations. This is a short update from our literacy coordinator about what’s going on this month!


We can be proud of all that we do to help families discover the joy of reading. Here are a few glimpses from our family literacy events and Steps for Success events:

Families for Literacy (FFL) events for families of adult learners at Mission Library:



At a Steps for Success event last month at Scott Lane Elementary, we distributed 129 gift books and made 62 library cards. In all, we handed out 247 books to children from low-income families at 4 school sites last month. (At another family literacy event for families of preschoolers at Scott Lane, we reached out to over 60 families and gave out 38 new library cards) . Thank you so much to the caring team of staff and volunteers who make this literacy outreach possible.



Thanks to you and your support for helping make events like this possible. We couldn’t do it without you!

Thanks again to LinkedIn!

LinkedIn continues to provide wonderful programs that our patrons find valuable. Northside Library hosted a LinkedIn tips and tricks program last month that had over 150 people in attendance. Thanks to everyone who came and to Oscar for sharing everything he knows.

Please accept my most heartfelt thanks for a brilliant evening last night. Oscar’s talk has given me a renewed enthusiasm for my job search but above all, a direction that I can follow. Regards and thanks again for organizing such a great event. – Steve H

We hope to keep these programs going!

A quiet place to study can change a life

One of the best parts of my job is learning how the library changes people’s lives. This is a story that’s a couple of years old, but shows how Santa Clara City Library makes a difference, just by existing.

The quiet study room upstairs is changing people’s lives. I know an gal, Indian dentist, married the man who bought a restaurant across the street. She worked there and escaped here every afternoon to study to go to a US Dental School. They sold the restaurant, she came all the time. She flunked the test, spent another year studying. After two years, she got in. She just got her dental degree from UOP last week, and is now a US dentist. How many of her are there here? They don’t use our materials or programs, but their lives are changed by having a place to study.

Isn’t that wonderful? Hearing and sharing these stories is one of my favorite things.

Help us help you

Emotions are running high after this week’s presidential election, and there is a lot of uncertainty about how the next few years will play out. Nonprofits are the people who work to solve society’s problems, and no one is sure what will happen.

But we do know that you support your library. You check out books and movies, you attend the library’s programs – big ones like Comic Con and smaller ones like the Fuddles and Puddles author visit – you buy books at our sales, you donate at the Librarypalooza, and you are our lifeline.

Our annual appeal letter will be in your mailbox next week, and we encourage you to donate during these uncertain times to ensure that your library will be as strong as ever. You can donate online today, or wait until you get the letter next week to mail in your check.

We at the Santa Clara City Library Foundation & Friends will continue to work for everyone in our thriving and diverse community.

Thank you for your support.

From photography lights to a job

Awhile back, we used the money we raised from our book sales to buy some photography lights for our Northside branch library. They use them for lots of programs, including having a professional photographer take photos for library patrons’ LinkedIn profiles.

One of our librarians heard back from one of those patrons:

How are you? I hope all is well with you. I wanted to drop this line to share my excitement of my new position. I’ve been here a month. And it’s in part because of the great opportunity you & the library afforded me to have my photo taken for LinkedIn and other professional use. I was working a temporary assignment here in Sacramento and had fairly recently added all of my other temp work in Sacramento, so between making my presence known in Sacramento and having a professional photo, I was contacted by a recruiter to interview for a permanent job. And guess what happened? I was offered the job on the spot after the interview. How beautiful is that? Thanks again for offering the opportunity, for your photographer staffer’s time, equipment & experience, and for helping me get the time frame I needed to work with the job I had at the time when you offered the photos. It truly helped me get the stability I had been seeking for 8 years. Thanks. Sincerely, Gisele

How awesome is that?! You helped make that happen by donating and/or buying books from us. Thank you!

Congratulations Ellin

Jim Lentz (Toyota, CEO of Toyota Motor North America); Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street); Jean Fahey (Toyota Family Teacher of the Year, South Shore Hospital); Sharon Darling (NCFL President/Founder); Ellin Klor; Mike Goss (Toyota, VP External Affairs & Communications)

Jim Lentz (Toyota, CEO of Toyota Motor North America); Sonia Manzano (Maria from Sesame Street); Jean Fahey (Toyota Family Teacher of the Year, South Shore Hospital); Sharon Darling (NCFL President/Founder); Ellin Klor; Mike Goss (Toyota, VP External Affairs & Communications)

Ellin was so lucky to be the runner up for the Toyota Family Teacher of the Year! This is a photo of her at the award ceremony (look at how happy she is!), and this is from her co-attendee, Shanti Bhaskaran:

Ellin received her award on October 18 at an inspiring celebration at the Families Learning Summit in Detroit, where guest speakers included Jim Lentz, the CEO of Toyota North America, Sonia Manzano (“Maria” from Sesame Street) and adult learners who shared how participating in a literacy program changed their lives and those of their children. Ellin and I got to meet adult/family literacy educators from all over the country at the conference.

Congratulations again!

Have you used the new bike fix-it station?

We had the official unveiling of the new bike fix-it station a couple of weeks ago. it was part of the library 2 library bike ride that so many people enjoyed. What a great opportunity!

I love seeing people using it, even when the library is closed. If you’re riding your bike down Homestead to Central Park or to the library (!) and notice you have a flat tire or another minor problem, you can use the fix-it station in the front of the library to fix your bike.