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Lake County Library Celebrates 50 Years as a System

Lake County Library Celebrates 50 Years as a System

Lake County, CA (July 2, 2024) – This July, the Lake County Library is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary as a countywide library system. The rich history of our libraries showcases the power of community, stretching back much further than five decades.

County Librarian Christopher Veach remarks, “What I love most about our library system is they all got their start because people got together and decided they wanted a library.”

A Legacy of Community Effort

In 1906, civic-minded citizens in Lakeport formed a library committee to establish a town library. With about 80 volunteers, they rented, painted, and refurbished a small space, opening the first library in the Board of Trade rooms in the Levy Building in 1907.

As the library grew, local groups like the Lakeport Ladies' Town Improvement Club successfully petitioned Andrew Carnegie, famous industrialist, for an $8,000 grant. The new library, completed in February 1918, still stands proudly in Library Park today.

Similar grassroots efforts led to the establishment of the other present-day libraries in Middletown, Clearlake, and Upper Lake.

Formation of the County Library System

In the early 1970s, work began on creating a unified county library system, integrating the libraries in Lakeport, Middletown, Clearlake, and Upper Lake. Lake County was the last in the state without a countywide library service. Sponsored by a federal grant through the State Library, the Lake County Library project demonstrated the benefits of a county library system, also introducing the first bookmobile.

In 1974, Lake County residents voted, with 65% voting yes, to establish the county library system, approving a property tax of 12 cents per $100 assessed valuation, which still funds our libraries today.

Celebrating 50 Years

To celebrate this golden anniversary, the library invites the public to share their library memories on our website or at any branch on our memory display. Photos, pictures, and written statements will be showcased both online and at our libraries.

Residents can read statements from former library staff members, such as the first County Librarian, Stephen C. Klein, as well as members of the public. There are also historical photographs showing the library system over the years.

Additionally, commemorative fifty-year anniversary library cards will be available at all locations, while supplies last. Join us at various library events and clubs throughout the year to mark this milestone.

For more information, visit our website at Celebrate with us and be a part of Lake County Library’s rich history!