Glendale Public Library
The Glendale Public Library is located in Glendale, California, and serves a diverse community of over 200,000 people. GPL has a total of 7 branches, in addition to the large Central Library, including the unique Brand Library and Art Center. GPL was 100 years old in 2007, and hosted many events and offered new services throughout the year in celebration.
According to internal calculations, as of June 30, 2005, GPL owned well over 700,000 volumes of print materials, with a majority (over 400,000) being housed at the Central Library. Not included in those totals are a wealth of currently uncataloged items of local historical importance (photographs and ephemera.) GPL also owns a large body of non-English print materials, (specializing in Armenian titles), as well as a "Genocide Memorial Collection" of works pertaining to many of mankind's worst moments.
Library services in Glendale were first provided in 1906. The women of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, a social and philanthropic organization, raised money through a series of lectures to fund a library collection. The library opened in a renovated pool room at Third and E (Wilson and Everett) Streets with seventy books, soon supplemented by a State Traveling Library of fifty more, and served a population of 1,186.
In 1907, the City Trustees passed Ordinance 53 which established and supported a library which "...shall be forever free to the inhabitants and nonresident taxpayers of the City of Glendale..." The first year the library had 251 books, 165 registered patrons, and a budget of $248.88. In 1913, a Carnegie grant of $12,500 made possible the construction of the main library at Louise and Fifth (Harvard Street). The building was completed and dedicated November 13, 1914. The building was enlarged in 1926. Between 1940 and 1942, two side wings were added, one becoming a children's library called the Hans Christian Andersen Room and the other housing Readers' Service.
The present Central Library building opened on March 13, 1973, on the former site of Glendale Union High School and Glendale College. With 92,600 square feet (8,600 m2) it had over four times the floor space of the old structure. The next twenty years saw major changes in the City of Glendale and in library technology. The latest remodel has brought library users a larger Children's Room and a separate Audio Visual area. The new upper level includes an expansion of the Special Collections room to accommodate the valuable historical information housed there. The redesign of the Reference and Circulation areas has been specifically oriented toward better customer service. The creation of a Business Collection area and a Job Center recognizes Glendale's position as the third largest business center in California.
Brand Library and Art Center
The Brand Library is an art and music library including an adult collection of books, compact discs, records, videos, slides, prints, and periodicals. The Library currently holds 70,000 book titles, 125 periodical subscriptions, 25,000 compact discs, 16,000 records, 800 videos and DVD, 25,000 slides, 600 art prints and 200 piano rolls. It also houses an Art Gallery with 4 exhibits a year featuring Southern California artists, and a Recital Hall available for art and music events. The library is housed in a mansion built in 1904. The gallery and recital hall were added in 1969. The facility is located in Brand Park high in the foothills overlooking Glendale and the San Fernando Valley.
The original mansion was built by Leslie C. Brand and named El Miradero. The design is similar to the East Indian Pavilion built for the 1893 Columbian World Exposition held in Chicago and visited by Mr. Brand. The architecture is considered Saracenic, with crenellated arches, bulbous domes and minars combining characteristics of Spanish, Moorish, and Indian styles. In contrast to the cool white exterior, a Victorian decor was followed inside.
Mr. Brand died in the house in 1925. He bequeathed El Miradero to the city, although Mrs. Brand retained rights of residence until 1945. The will provided that the property should be used exclusively for a public park and library. Mrs. Brand died in 1945, and by 1956 the mansion had been converted into Brand Library.
Ten years later, in response to the need for larger quarters to serve the growing interest of the community, the city council allocated funds to construct an addition to Brand Library that would include facilities for art exhibitions, lectures and concerts, as well as art and craft studios. The new addition was dedicated in October 1969.
Glendale Public Library offers many services to its patrons, both at the Central location as well as its branches. GPL Central provides free wireless broadband internet access throughout the system. GPL currently provides wired internet access through their 32 public computers at Central and many at each branch location. GPL offers classes on various software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, in addition to their extremely popular "Computer Club for Beginners". The "Computer Club" class helps students of all ages learn the basics of operating a computer, searching the Internet, and using email. GPL also offers computer classes in Spanish and Armenian.
Adult Reading Program
The Glendale Public Library Adult Reading Program offers a unique approach to learning literacy skills. The program combines basic instruction with the adult students' goals, making it possible for adults who struggle with reading to learn and use the tools necessary for life, family, job and pride. Both those new to reading and those new to the English language can benefit from the Adult Reading Program.