Sacramento Sacramento Sacramento

Sacramento, Sacramento County

San Francisco Bay/Delta/Sacramento area, Gold County region

Sacramento City Library
828 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

opened 1918
Public Library 1918-present
currently a public library

grant amount: $100,000
architectural style: Italian Renaissance
architect: Loring Rixford

Just north of the State Capitol, at the corner of Ninth and I streets, is a city governmental center including the Sacramento City Hall, main post office, Plaza Park, and the recently renovated and enlarged Carnegie library. The entrance to the original three story Italian Renaissance building was on the long side facing I Street. A second building, replicating the first in scale and tone but simpler, also presents the length of its facade to I Street. Between the two is a narrow, tall entrance serving both buildings. The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

Sacramento's first library, built in 1850, was destroyed by fire in 1852. In 1857 a group of prominent men including Leland Stanford and Charles Crocker incorporated the Sacramento Library Association; in 1872 the Association constructed a building for the library on I Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. In 1879, using provisions of California's 1878 Rogers Act which encouraged transfer of private libraries to municipalities, it became a free public library. By 1913 when the building was outgrown Carnegie funding was sought but was denied because the Carnegie program then emphasized branches rather than "expensive and monumental" central libraries. Library commissioners pointed out that they maintained libraries in all of the public schools and in several fire stations, all books circulating through the "inadequate present building," and $100,000 was granted in 1914. Loring Rixford of San Francisco designed the building and George E. Colder, then W.B.Rohl, were contractors. Gradually library functions expanded into nearby buildings but are now integrated in the new "Library Plaza." In the old building, the Sacramento Room for state and local history has been restored to its original decor.