History of the Library

Monterey Park Library Timeline

The following are important dates in library history:

  • February 1929: The Monterey Park City Council established the Bruggemeyer Memorial Library to provide public library service for the people of Monterey Park. Previously, there was a small collection of books in the Ramona Women's Club, which was on the corner of Baltimore and Garvey.
  • March 28, 1929: The first library building opened its doors at 256 W. Garvey, where St. Stephen's School is now located. It was a gift from Judge Mancha Bruggemeyer in memory of his first wife Roberta Pauline Bruggemeyer. Her picture is on the west wall of the library. The first librarian was Mrs. Helen (Nell) Thomas, who later became the second Mrs. Bruggemeyer.
  • January 27, 1947: A telephone was installed in the library.
  • May 2, 1948: The library celebrated its redecoration and expansion and honored Judge Bruggemeyer, who had recently moved back to Monterey Park from Redlands.
  • 1958: The City of Monterey Park passed a bond measure to build a new library.
  • July 7, 1960: The new library at 318 S. Ramona (present site) was dedicated. At that time there were 47,000 volumes in the building.
  • 1980: The new addition was added to the library.
  • January 1984: LAMP literacy program started. The free LAMP program helps people of all ages learn to read and write English in small classes or in one-to-one sessions with tutors. In its 24 years of existence, the program has trained 3,293 as of June 30, 2008 tutors to work with 5,776 learners as of June 30, 2008. Tutors have donated 254,289 instructional hours as of June 30, 2008 to this effort. If you translate that into dollars at minimum wage, the volunteers tutors have contributed $2,034,312 to the community. To the people involved their contribution is invaluable.
  • 1987: The library's circulation system was automated.
  • April 1993: LAMP started giving the American Citizenship examination. More than 1,900 people have taken the test, and close to 1,300 have received their citizenship.
  • Fall 1995: The library's catalog was automated. The Bruggemeyer Memorial Library became the first public library in the U.S. with CJK catalog. It allows people to look up Chinese, Japanese, and Korean in the vernacular in the catalog. The library also has menus to allow direct searching in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish.
  • January 10, 1996: The library restored and increased Wednesday hours of opening. The hours are:
    • Monday through Tuesday
      Noon to 9 p.m.
    • Wednesday
      10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Thursday through Friday
      10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • September 7, 1996: The library restored Saturday hours of opening. The last time the library had been open on Saturdays was 1992. The library hours are now:
    • Monday through Tuesday
      Noon to 9 p.m.
    • Wednesday
      10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    • Thursday through Friday
      10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    • Saturday
      9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • January 1997: The library started a class in history and government and in interview preparation to help people pass those parts of the American Citizenship examination.
  • May 19, 1997: Full-text periodicals on the public access catalog with indexing and abstracting of ERIC database, a statistical database, and another 3,100 magazines.
  • January 2, 1998: The library has Internet access for the public via an LSTA InFoPeople grant administered by the California State Library.
  • February 4, 1998: The library conducts the first class for the public in the Internet. Registrations are being taken at the reference desk for these monthly classes.
  • March 1998: The library staff officially receive the Leonard Wertheimer Award from the Public Library Association. The purpose of the award is "to recognize an individual, library, group, or organization for outstanding work that enhances and promotes multilingual and/or multicultural public library service."
  • April 14, 1998: By 66.8439%, the City of Monterey Park passes Library Tax Measure C. This tax measure will fund a 13,000-plus addition to the library, Sunday afternoon hours, a new roof for the 1959 addition to the library and increase the library materials' budget by 83%.
  • September 13, 1998: The library starts Sunday afternoon hours from 1 to 5 p.m.
  • 2002: The California State Library awards the library close to $8.9 million to expand and renovate the library. Foundation starts a successful campaign to raise more than $480,000 to use as part of the required 35% match. They end up raising more than $600,000 for the expansion. The rest of the match comes from Measure C, library trust funds, and the City of Monterey Park.
  • 2004: Construction starts on the renovation and expansion. The library moves offsite to a warehouse on Monterey Pass Road and the Service Clubhouse.
  • 2005: Library Board and City Council vote to change the library's name to the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library.
  • September 9, 2006: The library reopens at double its former size complete with 65 computers for public Internet access, four group study rooms, and three meeting rooms.
  • 2007: Artist Kent Twitchell completes the four murals in the Children's Room depicting characters from children's literature.
  • 2008: The Library Board of Commission selected artist Ricardo Mendoza to do a mural over the west entrance to the library.