• Happy 50th Birthday to Modesto Library

    November 2021 marks the 50th year of the Modesto Library being in its current location. In celebration of this milestone, we’ll post articles and photos of the library in the coming months to share its history with the community. If you have memories to share of the November 1971 building

  • Historic Groundbreaking Takes Place in Modesto

    April 1970: Earth Day is celebrated for the first time, Apollo 13 tells Houston, “We’ve had a problem” but returns safely to Earth, “Midnight Cowboy” wins the Academy Award for Best Picture…… and the groundbreaking ceremony for the building we know as the Modesto Library takes place on April 19,

  • Library materials, finding tools change in last 50 years

    Here, some old photos remind us that, in the 1970s, many of the materials available to library customers, and the tools used to find them, were different than today. For example, are you old enough to remember using a card catalog? Row upon row of wooden drawers filled with mostly

  • The “new” library’s librarian

    Oscar Smaalders, the Stanislaus County Librarian from 1968 until his retirement in 1982, was at the forefront of leading staff and the community through the library building project. Born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1924, he lived in Nazi-occupied Holland during WW II. This shaped his life-long views as a

  • A look back at Modesto Library history

    Libraries could be found in Modesto as early as 1884 with a series of free reading rooms. In 1905 the Rodgers Free Reading Room merged with a reading room sponsored by the Women’s Improvement Club of Modesto to form the Modesto City Library. The library was funded by $120 from

  • Calling all memories

    Congratulations to the Modesto Library, or actually the building at 15th and I Streets. Fifty years ago, the building was dedicated and opened to the public on Nov. 13, 1971. An anniversary like that calls for a celebration! Throughout the year we’ll highlight stories about the building and events such as