Our library was first established in 1938 and it was known as the Carmelo Library. In 1949 it relocated into the building between Grapevine Liquors and the former Bank of America building… a step up from its previous location in the living room of a home out in Cachagua. In 1958 the name changed to Carmel Valley Branch Library, signifying its identity among what are now sixteen branches in the Monterey County Free Libraries system. The new space offered seating for only five people and not many books, but it served us well enough until we moved into the Buckeye Building in February, 1980.
As the need for space became more urgent, Librarian Rickey Meehling’s suggestion to form a support group spurred fourteen patrons to form Friends of the Carmel Valley Library in March, 1979. The purpose of the group was… and still is… “to provide organized support for the extension and enhancement of library services for the benefit of the community of Carmel Valley.”
You may remember that California’s Proposition 13 legislation was passed in November 1978. Its effects were a boon to taxpaying homeowners, but not to libraries that rely upon property taxes for their existence. Jacquine ‘Jacky’ Marks, one of the original directors of the Friends, recognized Prop 13 was a signal to settle a new lease quickly; she led the search that led to a manageable lease on the Buckeye Restaurant building in December 1979. Jacky’s search team assignment was “a building with wheelchair access, a public bathroom, lots of light and about 2,000 square feet of floor space. We’ll settle for 1,500 square feet. All we want, to get started, is a square building we can wheel a wheelchair into. Then we’ll get more books and more browsing room. We’re a good tenant, a steady income.”
The Friends group grew rapidly after moving into the new building. Community members donated in-kind services of labor and materials. A twice-monthly movie night at the library became popular. Thanks to continuing support over the ensuing years by Friends in the community, significant improvements have transformed our library’s original size and services into what you see today.