Library History

Timeline

1878

The Blue Ribbon Temperance League opens a reading room establishing the first book services in Gilroy.

1880

With help from a second temperance group, the reading room circulates books from a downtown gallery while serving ice cream and coffee.

1883

YMCA reading room opens.

1895

Gilroy Ladies Reading Circle opens.

1898

FRFG (Freely Received, Freely Given) Reading Club opens. It is still active today!

1906

Gilroy city council adopts a resolution to formally establish a public library.

1907

Mary Briggs Benn appointed Gilroy's first Community Librarian (1907-1915). Library Trustees apply for $10,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation for library construction. Philanthropist Caroline Hoxett donates $1,000 for library land purchase. Until the new library is completed, the temporary Gilroy Library is in City Hall filled with books provided by the Gilroy Ladies Reading Circle.

1910

Gilroy Library opens at 195 Fifth Street with a collection of 1,700 books.

1915

Irma Whitney (Kilgore) appointed Community Librarian (1915-1917).

1917

Pearl Lavin appointed Community Librarian (1917-1943).

1943

Marjorie Grodhaus appointed Community Librarian (1943-1965).

1966

Gilroy residents pass a $600,000 bond measure for construction of a new library. Mary Groshert appointed Community Librarian (1966-1969).

1968

July 1st: Gilroy Library joins Santa Clara County Free Library.

1969

Alice Dawson appointed Community Librarian (1969-1970).

1970

June Hopper appointed Community Librarian (1970-1983).

1975

February 1st: The new Gilroy Library opens at 7387 Rosanna Street with 57,000 volumes.

1984

Lani Yoshimura appointed Community Librarian (1984-today).

2008

Citizens of Gilroy pass a $37 million bond for construction of a new library.

2009

Gilroy Library moves to a temporary location at 7652 Monterey Street until new library construction is completed.

Today

The new Gilroy Library opens as the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building in Santa Clara County Library. Gilroy has grown to 150,000 volumes including over 400 periodicals and the largest Spanish Language collection in the Santa Clara County Library. A unique 200 phono-record collection from the KFAT radio station are stored at Gilroy library.