On Sept. 22, community members and city dignitaries gathered at the Mission Branch Library (at 1098 Lexington St.) to celebrate the grand reopening of the library after its extensive renovations. The day’s itinerary came with speeches first, followed by library tours, and finally, family entertainment.
“This is Santa Clara’s oldest library but now it will be Santa Clara’s newest library,” said Lisa Gillmor, Santa Clara Mayor. “Having been built in 1955 and only minimally renovated since then, this renovation has brought really needed updates to this building.”
“Over 60 years worth of your memories fill this space,” said Hilary Keith, Director of the Santa Clara City Library. “We hope that in this revived space you will have the chance to create new memories that years from now, you’ll look back on fondly.”
Elizabeth Morris, President of the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends, thanked the community for its support of the Mission Library Renovation Campaign. Tracy Wingrove, Executive Director of the Foundation and Friends, presented a check of $193,000 to Keith.
After the speeches and ribbon cutting, attendees streamed into the renovated library. Those who had frequented the library before its makeover immediately noticed the upgrades including new furniture, carpeting, lighting, books and more.
“This renovated community room existed before but we added more access to it by adding a back entrance,” said Justin Wasterlain, Santa Clara City Library’s Acting Program Coordinator who will be managing the Mission Branch Library. “We used to have study cubicles and now we have four new group study rooms and an eight-person classroom. We have brand new book collections with very few exceptions. We’ve added sky lights. We now have a children’s patio and a back patio.”
Supporters of the library also marveled at the spaces named after themselves or loved ones. For example, Emily Adorable and her daughters gathered around the sign honoring Adorable’s late mother, Elizabeth McGuire.
“My mom, Elizabeth McGuire, used to take my daughters, Lorrie and Jennie, to the Mission Library every week when they were young,” Adorable said. “She really loved this library because it was small and quiet and she loved to read. I’m also a member of the library’s Foundation and Friends. I was on the committee to help raise the money for the furnishings in the renovation. When you fundraise, different areas for naming rights are offered. My mom loved to read and was a teacher for 19 years, and she loved reading children’s books. We decided to raise $2,500 to honor my mom with a Children’s Picture Book Collection. I wrote to every member of my family and dear family friends to see if they would donate money and we got the money we needed.”
The Mission Branch Library now operates as a full-service library serving children, teens, adults and seniors.
“Our first major program is on Oct. 16 at 3 p.m. where we have a children’s program from Wildmind Science,” Wasterlain said. “They’ll be bringing in a number of wild animals that are local.”
Visit santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/library/events to view other events coming up at the Mission Branch Library and at other libraries with the Santa Clara City Library.