Palo Alto, Santa Clara County
Monterey to San Francisco area, San Francisco Bay Area region
Palo Alto's library history dates from an 1893 YMCA reading room. When the Palo Alto Women's club was organized in 1894, the same year the city was incorporated, its goal was community service and its first project was a library. The library opened in 1896, with shelf space provided in a local bookstore. Soon the YMCA collection was included and the library made the first of its many moves to new locations. In 1901 the Women's Club petitioned the city council to establish and maintain a free public library, and this was done in 1902. Carnegie funding was sought and $10,000 was granted February 20, 1903. The architects Dodge and Dolliver designed the building in the Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival style. The cornerstone was laid November 17, 1903, and the building opened November 1, 1904, although the basement was not completed until 1908. Requests for additional Carnegie funds to complete the job were rejected, and the additional $2,000 to finish the basement came from the library tax. The building was expanded twice, once in 1922-23, again in 1940 with a large addition in the rear, and was demolished in 1967.