History of the Salinas Public Library

A look at the Salinas Public Library's noteworthy events over the last decade

First Meeting of the Board of Trustees

First meeting of the Trustees of the Salinas City Library is held. The population of Salinas was about 3,000.

The First Salinas Public Library Building Opens

San Jose architect Jacob Lentzen prepares plans and the specifications for the Classical Revival style building. On November 4, 1909 Carrie Miller Striening who works for the system until 1936, opens the Carnegie library building to the public at 2:00 in the afternoon.

The Library Hires Pauline Pearson

The Salinas Public Library hires Pauline Pearson, who will later be recognized for her research on John Steinbeck in Salinas.

Children's Library is Added

A large room in the city Recreation Center (the old USO building) is remodeled for use as the children’s library.

New Salians Public Library Opens

The Salinas Californian of March 7, 1957 details the inadequacies of the old Carnegie library building on Main Street, and the city council plans for a new $220,000 library building. John Ward becomes library director, and in 1959 the city breaks ground for the new library on the corner of Lincoln and San Luis Streets, just a few blocks from the old library. It is the second unit of the City’s civic center.

John Steinbeck Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

In October Salinas born author John Steinbeck is announced the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. A month later the library lounge area is named the “John Steinbeck Room.” Steinbeck responds favorably to the honor by writing to say he “browsed” the library “practically to its roots in his youth.” The Salinas Californian records a high patron demand at the library for books of the Salinas born author.

Lincoln Street Library Building is Renamed for John Steinbeck

The city council renames the Lincoln Street library building in honor of the late John Steinbeck. Salinas now has 58,500 people.

The First Steinbeck Festival is Held

The first Steinbeck Festival is held. The Friends of the Salinas Public Library open the Steinbeck Boutique at the John Steinbeck Library to help purchase The Pearl manuscript. Many area residents and organizations finally buy The Pearl Manuscript for the Steinbeck Archives, “piece by piece.”

Library is Closed Due to Earthquake

The John Steinbeck Library is closed for repairs to damage from the Loma Prieta Earthquake in October.

Steinbeck Archives Moved

The Steinbeck Archives move to the newly built National Steinbeck Center Museum at 1 Main Street in Salinas. Another major goal is successfully accomplished.

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