Celebrating the Gilroy Library

Wearing a hat that belonged to Gilroy's second librarian, Irma

Gilroy
– The Gilroy Library has been around for nearly 100 years, and
Saturday the community celebrated.
The celebration, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, was the kick off
for 100 years in the making for the library.
Gilroy – The Gilroy Library has been around for nearly 100 years, and Saturday the community celebrated.

The celebration, Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, was the kick off for 100 years in the making for the library. The theme was geared towards discussing Gilroy Library’s past, present and future.

Members of the Gilroy City Council, including Mayor Al Pinheiro, Councilman Bob Dillon and Vision Literacy member Judy Walko, attended to discuss the library’s present and future plans. Also welcomed were Elizabeth Barratt, who spoke about the history of the library, and public speaker Muriel Brem. Those in attendance took a journey into the past with readings from the writings of Gilroy’s second librarian, Irma Whitney Kilgore.

Abelino Gazea said he makes regular trips to the Rosanna Street facility.

“I really like coming here,” Gazea said. “I like to read so I come here all the time.”

Though it has only been around for 30 years, the history of Gilroy’s only library began in 1906 when the City Council decided to establish a public library. Library trustees applied to Carnegie trust seeking construction funds almost 100 years ago, and were awarded $10,000 to construct a new library. That building still stands on Fifth Street, while the new library has grown to become one of Gilroy’s most heavily trafficked libraries in the county, averaging checkouts of half a million items per year.

And now, almost at their 100-year mark, the City of Gilroy is exploring ideas for a new building.

“It’s a high priority from what I understand, to build a new library for Gilroy,” Community Library Supervisor Lani Yoshimura said.

One of the largest questions facing the city is how to fund the construction of a new library. If a bond is passed and fully funded in 2006, the library is looking to receive a grant for construction and will be able to continue its history of educating those in Gilroy.

Those with the public library are optimistic.

“It is a greater monument to have people learn,” Yoshimura said.

Aside from book use at the library and the walk-in checkout system, it also provides bookmobile services to the public.

“We bring books to those who are homebound, also to people in convalescent homes and migrant camps,” Yoshimura said. “It’s good to know the public library can make a difference in their lives.”

It is noticeable when walking through the library that there is a peaceful calm over those there.

Sam Lee, a Gilroy resident, agrees.

“It’s a comfortable place to come work,” he said. “It really is a nice working environment.”

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