Castro Valley Library History
For more than 100 years, Castro Valley’s residents have enjoyed access as part of Alameda County Library. The Library’s exact origins, however, are a little murky, likely beginning between 1916-1918 in a former chicken coop on "Castro Hill", developing into the first Castro Valley Library in 1926. The valley has seen three distinct libraries come and go, culminating in the construction of today’s Castro Valley Library. In that time, the Castro Valley Library has transformed from a few books in old farm buildings to the grand community space we enjoy today.
Today’s Castro Valley Library
The current Castro Valley Library took much longer to conceive and build than those that came before. Alameda County purchased the site of the library back in the early 1990s. Long term plans were made to fundraise and develop the site. The reality of a new Castro Valley Library took a giant leap forward in 2004 when a grant of almost $14 million from the State of California was awarded for the project. Small and large donations from Castro Valley residents as well as money from the County of Alameda made up the difference in this $22.3 million project.
The community celebrated the groundbreaking for the Norbridge Avenue location on April 18, 2008. By July of 2009, the library, designed by Berkeley architects Noll and Tam, was nearing completion. That same month, Oakland artist Jos Sances was finishing up the 700 square foot ceramic tile mural in the children’s section. It is one of the Library’s many pieces of public art, chosen with community input by the Alameda County Arts Commission.
Finally, the big day arrived. On Halloween 2009, Castro Valley Library opened to the public. Almost 2,000 residents participated in the “Great Castro Valley Book Pass”—a human chain that passed books from the old Redwood Road site to the new Norbridge Avenue site.
The 34,537 square foot Library is a green building with solar panels and other resource-conserving components that earned a LEED silver designation. The classroom and large community room have allowed for expansion in the number and size of programs for all ages. Circulation of materials doubled in the Library’s first year of operation.
Today Castro Valley Library is the vibrant heart of the community where people of all ages can come to learn and grow.
If you would like to know more about the history of the Castro Valley Library, stop by the branch and ask for a copy of The History of the Castro Valley Library, by John Christian.
The History of the Castro Valley Library, by John Christian, 2018