History of the Tulare County Free Library

 

 

The fourth County Library in California was established by the Board of Supervisors on June 10, 1910. The Trustees of the Visalia City Library offered Jennie Herrman, the County Librarian, administrative workspace in their facility. She established twelve branches her first year and outgrew her borrowed space. The administrative offices moved frequently between 1911 and 1919, when the old Masonic Building on North Church was rented. The offices stayed there until 1931, when they moved to the old Courthouse, and from there to the AAUW Building on Locust, where they stayed until 1957 when the new Tulare County Courthouse was completed. During this time many new branches were established, spreading from Dinuba, the first, south to Earlimart, as well as east to Johnsondale and west to Alpaugh.

School Services, which were added in 1914, were assumed by the Superintendent of Schools in 1957. Many small branches were consolidated and Bookmobile service was substituted for other areas. Schools continued to send classes to branches for training on how to use libraries, and all branches stressed work with children. For the first time Visalia residents had access to the Central Services collection in the Courthouse after the 1957 move. With this new limited service branch, the County Library had 26 public service outlets. It also contracted with Porterville, Tulare City, and Visalia to provide them with materials and professional staffing at various times.

In 1970 the Board of Supervisors authorized a Planning Department study of library needs in the County which resulted in the 1972 TULARE COUNTY LIBRARY MASTER PLAN. This offered various alternatives for better library service, including consolidation with one of the independent city libraries. In 1973 Visalia suggested that both public service libraries could be consolidated in a new building from revenue sharing funds allocated to the County and to the City. A joint Library Commission was appointed to plan the building. The City Library staff became County Library staff in July, 1976 and the new building opened to the public on November 22, 1976.

Tulare County Library - 200 West Oak Avenue - Visalia, CA 93291-4993 - Phone - (559) 713-2700
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