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Then and Now: Mill Valley Library

As it celebrates its Centennial, we look back at the history of our gem of a local library.

The is of its founding this year, and the local institution isn't wasting the moment. Since the beginning of the year, the library has with celebrations, tributes, and throughout the year, as well as a slew of new programming designed to both and draw in new members.

The library will also be the subject of a special historical walk, hosted by the , on Sunday, May 29 during Memorial Day weekend. The walk will focus on both libraries in Mill Valley - the original Carnegie Library on Lovell Ave. and the current one on Throckmorton.

This week's Then and Now photos are of each of the libraries. The first public library opened in Mill Valley 100 years ago. It did so, as did thousands of other libraries across the country, with funds from the Carnegie Foundation under the condition that the local community was committed to providing costs to stock and manage it.

The first library opened on July 22, 1911 at 52 Lovell Avenue. The first librarian was Lillian Gardner, and the library was successful from day one. It grew in popularity, so much so that by the late 1930s, there was talk of moving out of its location for a larger facility. 

Nearly 30 years would pass before those dreams and plans were realized. The library we know today, on Throckmorton, was built for $493,000 in 1965 and opened its doors in 1966. Within 30 years it too became a bit too cozy for the 21st century.  Thanks to local donors and a $4.6 million bond approved by Mill Valley citizens, it added 9,132 square feet to it’s original structure. 

To catch a closer glimpse of the library and to learn about the first library, come to the on Sunday, May 29. The Mill Valley Historical Society will be leading 90-minute walking tours from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The walks will finish with a tour of the library.

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