Alameda County Library

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Alameda County Library
Alameda County Library (logo).png
LocationAlameda, California
Items collectedMore than 1 million
Access and use
Population served564,695
Other information

The Alameda County Library, in Alameda County, California, is a public library system that provides services from ten branch libraries in the cities of Albany, Dublin, Fremont, Newark and Union City and the unincorporated communities of Castro Valley and San Lorenzo. According to 2005/2006 statistics, the total service area represents a population of about 522,000, and annual circulation is reported to be around 5.5 million.[3] Its headquarters are located in Fremont.[4]

The County Library was established in 1910 and is governed by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The Alameda County Library Advisory Commission advises the County Librarian and the Board of Supervisors on library services.


The County Library is funded primarily by local property taxes, with additional revenue from State grants and contracts with cities for additional open hours and services. The Board of Supervisors allocates a portion of a utility users and business license tax which is collected only in the unincorporated areas of the County to the Library for service to the unincorporated areas. The Alameda County Library Foundation and active Friends or Library League groups in each community support library programs and services.


As of 2011, the Alameda County Library has ten branch libraries.

  • Albany
  • Castro Valley (received funding for a new library that opened in 2009)
  • Centerville (Fremont)
  • Dublin
  • Irvington (Fremont)
  • Fremont Main
  • Newark
  • Niles (Fremont)
  • San Lorenzo
  • Union City

Castro Valley[edit]

The Castro Valley Library serves approximately 60,000 residents in the unincorporated area of Castro Valley, California, United States.


The original Castro Valley library was first opened in 1927 on Castro Valley Blvd, in a water tank owned by the Booth family. It later moved to another building, at 20055 Redwood Road, which was designed by architects Wahamaki and Corey. It opened in 1962 with a collection of over 23,000 and a cost of $230,000. The current collection is approximately 100,000. A new replacement library opened on October 31, 2009 at 3600 Norbridge Ave (artist’s rendering below). The new library has been funded by a combination of State Bond (13.9 million) and public support for a total cost of $22,276,464. The Architect for the project is Noll and Tam, Berkeley, CA. The contractor for the new building is W.A. Thomas, Inc., Martinez, CA (Russell Staines, President [Retired 2010]). A groundbreaking ceremony was held April 18, 2008.

Services and Programs[edit]

The Alameda County Library Bookmobile is a library on wheels with books, magazines, music CDs, CDROMs, videos, DVDs and books on cassette and CD for children, teens, and adults. The bookmobile visits schools and neighborhoods once every two weeks.

Youth Services[edit]

  • The Booklegger program is dedicated to promoting independent reading by children by visiting classrooms, and introducing selected books.
  • The Homework Help program provides students with homework assistance during after-school hours. The Albany, Castro Valley, Dublin, Newark, San Lorenzo and Union City libraries have Homework Centers.

Adult Services[edit]

  • The Homeword Bound program consists of volunteers trained by Older Adults Services to bring the library to seniors and others who are unable to visit their local branch library.

Jail Services[edit]

Alameda County Library provides library service and literacy/life skills instruction to men and women held in County jails. Most of the materials circulated each year are donated by members of the community.

  • The Write to Read is a comprehensive program bringing library services, programs and literacy to incarcerated youth.
  • Reading for Life (RFL) is an intensive and comprehensive 16-week self-sufficiency skills training academy for pre-release, low-literacy level inmates in the Alameda County Jail system.
  • The Jail Tutoring program trains and assigns volunteer literacy tutors to English-speaking inmates in the Alameda County Jail who read and write below the eighth grade level.

Community Languages[edit]

Alameda County Library collects languages that support the community demographics. A Community Language Committee was formed to identify the needs of communities and sustain a balanced collection of international languages.

The library actively collects the following languages:

  • Chinese
  • French
  • Hindi
  • Korean
  • Persian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese


  • 1910 The Alameda County Library Department was organized as part of the Oakland Free Library. San Lorenzo opened as the first Alameda County branch.
  • 1911 Irvington, Newark and Niles branches established.
  • 1913 Albany branch opened.
  • 1914 Dublin branch established.
  • 1918 Board of Supervisors established Alameda County Library; contract with Oakland ends.
  • 1920s Jail Service began.
  • 1948 Bookmobile put into operation.
  • 1964 Publication of the Henderson Report which recommended the Library's current organizational structure including the proposal that the systems' central library be located in Fremont. Alameda County Library Advisory Commission established by ordinance.
  • 1965 Opening of the Union City branch.
  • 1966 The Libraries of Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Alameda City, and Richmond formed the East Bay Cooperative Library System (this system would develop into the Bay Area Library Information System).
  • 1970 Dublin moved to its new building on Village Parkway.
  • 1971 Main Spanish language collection bought with federal funds. Fremont Main opened in September, dedicated in November. Irvington branch building, which moved to a new building in April, was destroyed by fire in November.
  • 1972 Irvington branch reopened.
  • 1973 Audio Visual Collection established with revenue sharing grants.
  • 1974 Centerville closed by fire; half of the collection was saved.
  • 1976 Centerville reopened in their new building.
  • 1977 Bay Area Library & Information System (BALIS) formed.
  • 1978 All libraries closed at the end of June because of Proposition 13 funding decrease. Branches reopened for circulation in August (except Niles and Irvington which opened later).
  • 1980 Jail services reestablished in November.
  • 1983 New Newark Library opened.
  • 1984 Budget for library materials reaches $1 million.
  • 1985 Library received John Cotton Dana Award for "Know How" campaign.
  • 1986 Library received John Cotton Dana Award for Picture Books campaign.
  • 1988 Circulation exceeds 3 million items. Library won John Cotton Dana Award for the Local Support Project.
  • 1989 Fremont Main Library moved to 2400 Stevenson Blvd.
  • 1991 Albany Library awarded $2,599,393 grant from the 1988 California Library Construction and Renovation Bond Act toward the construction of a new library.
  • 1993 State shifted property taxes to cover Stage budget deficit resulting in a 40% reduction in County Library revenues. Library open hours and staff were reduced by approximately 50% as a result.
  • 1994 New Albany Library opened at 1247 Marin Avenue.
  • 1995 Public access to the World Wide Web available at Fremont Main, San Lorenzo, and Union City Libraries funded by the State Infopeople Grant. Castro Valley's workstation was funded by community donations.
  • 1996 Provided a gateway to the Internet through the Library's on-line public access catalog (OPAC). Established an independent Alameda County Library Foundation with the goal of seeking donations from businesses and individuals to enhance library services. Received a three-year grant for $221,000 from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund through the Alameda County Library Foundation to enhance and improve the Adult Literacy Program.
  • 1997 Introduced CD-ROMs for checkout at all branches.
  • 1999 Pleasanton withdraws from the Alameda County Library and forms a City library.
  • 2003 New Dublin Library opens at 200 Civic Plaza.
  • 2004 Castro Valley is awarded $13.9 million in bond funding to build a new replacement facility.
  • 2006 Free wireless internet access is added throughout Alameda County Library Branches.


Write to Read

  • 2006 Coming Up Taller award, bestowed by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. This award recognizes the outstanding nature the library program in serving the literacy needs of incarcerated youth.
  • 2006 Movers & Shakers Award from Library Journal.
  • Alameda County Office of Education Public Service Award, 2005.
  • Community Partnership Award, from University of California, Berkeley, 2000.


  • Alameda County Library Website Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
  • Alameda County Library Strategic Plan (1998). Becoming a Model of Excellence: Alameda County Library


  1. ^ Alameda County Library budget presentation 2016-2017 [1]. Retrieved on 2016-11-23.
  2. ^ Libraries count! Fiscal year 2014-2015 annual statistics [2]. Retrieved on 2016-11-23.
  3. ^ Alameda County Library Annual Report - 05/06 Archived 2008-10-26 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2007-10-10.
  4. ^ "Library Administration Archived 2010-04-10 at the Wayback Machine." Alameda County Library. Retrieved on April 1, 2010.

External links[edit]