830. Monterey's Library "Branches Out"

While Monterey considered where to build its new Carnegie library, the citizens of New Monterey advocated for a library to be located in their own neighborhood above Cannery Row.

In 1913, Ella Thomas became the caretaker of the first New Monterey Branch Library which was housed in her office on Lighthouse Avenue. It was open only five hours a week, lacked a reading room, and mainly circulated books.

Finally in 1931 a New Monterey branch library building was designed and built in the California adobe style at 700 Laine Street near Bayview School.

In 1953, the Monterey City Council proposed to close the popular branch library as a cost cutting effort, which resulted in a storm of protest from New Monterey residents. In an effort to provide better service to all residents including the New Monterey neighborhood, the City Council announced the purchase of a new kind of library – a bookmobile.

In 1956 the bookmobile – a new kind of moving library – started operation. It continues today to provide key library services to various locations in Monterey.

What happened to the New Monterey Branch Library? In 1958, the library building was moved to the corner of Lighthouse and Dickman avenues in New Monterey where it became the Scholtze Park Community Center.

Today, it continues to serve Monterey residents as a community activity center. The building still displays, on one of its corners, a wood sculpture of a Monterey fisherman from its days as a library.