The Silicon Valley Voice

Power To Your Voice

Getting to Know Patricia “Patty” Wong: Santa Clara City Library’s New City Librarian

On Oct. 4, Patricia “Patty” Wong will begin her first day of work for the Santa Clara City Library as the City Librarian. Right now, Wong is wrapping up her time as the City Librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library.

As the current President of the American Library Association (ALA), Wong aims to spotlight digital equity and promote services and programs that highlight the diversity of the communities where residents live.

“What I would do is bring resources from the ALA to support the goals I set with the City of Santa Clara and the community for the Santa Clara City Library,” Wong said.

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Wong was born and raised in San Francisco. She attended U.C. Berkeley for her B.A. in Women’s Studies and her M.A. in Library Science. Wong has been working in the library system for 37 years.

“When I was a young child, my mom would take us to story time at the Glen Park Branch Library in San Francisco,” Wong said.  “I have always had strong relationships with library staff.”

In high school, Wong connected with a mentor who was a high school librarian.

“Sister Margaret Therese was a leader ahead of her time,” Wong said.  “She mentored and coached me, as the oldest of a single parent and the only Asian American student, to find my own voice and develop a sense of appreciative inquiry.”

When Wong was in college, she volunteered in the Women’s Studies Library, part of the U.C. Berkeley library system.

“I’ve always wanted to help people and to make a difference in getting the right books and the right reading materials into the hands of people who want to learn more about anything.” Wong said. “I’ve always wanted to be a librarian or a teacher.”

Wong pointed out that  a good program that works well in one agency is not always applicable to another community. She described a program that she oversaw with the City of Berkeley.

“We used to operate a tool lending library at the City of Berkeley where I worked,” Wong said. “The tools we lent out went from cement mixers and ladders all the way to gardening tools. In Berkeley, some people have small yards and sometimes they don’t have a lot of tools. When people who live in homes spend more time fixing up their place, it is a source of pride for the resident and it increases the property value.”

Wong commended the Santa Clara City Library for remaining a useful resource for the community during the pandemic.

“The Santa Clara City Library has done a great job with offering curbside pickup services and virtual programs,” Wong said. “Computers have been available for patrons to use at all three Santa Clara City library sites during curbside hours since April 2021.”

According to Lon Peterson, Director of Communications for the City of Santa Clara, the City’s library staff has stayed busy during the pandemic by performing a number of duties within and outside of library services, including managing the City’s phone correspondences with the public, supporting weekly food distribution programs, hosting COVID-19 testing at library sites and partnering with Stanford Blood Mobile to collect blood donations.

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