Creation of Upland Public Library

By the turn of the century, the residents of North Ontario (numbering approximately 1000 people) were starting to tire of their Ontario associations.  Though linked to Ontario geographically, mainly by Euclid Avenue, North Ontario had many of their own public services like a Fire Department and Police Department.  These were funded solely by the residents of North Ontario without any help from their southern counterparts, who had their own public services, including a public library established in 1885. 

Lacking any library service north of what is now Foothill Boulevard (the Ontario Carnegie was located just north of what is now Holt) the residents of North Ontario met in April 1900 to discuss the possibility of starting their own library, keeping in mind that they could not “let our children grow up without books.”  The group of concerned citizens met at the home of Col. F. W. Hart at the behest of Mrs. Hart. 

The Colonel Hart and his wife (name unknown) moved from Ontario to North Ontario in September of 1894.  There is no information available regarding the wife of Col. Hart, although much is known of Hart himself.  When the couple moved to North Ontario in 1894, Hart swiftly established himself as a businessman dealing with law, real estate and loans.  An ad in the October, 1894 edition of the Observer says “He [Hart] has the highest commendations from the state officials and other prominent citizens of Iowa which are an assurance that Ontario has in him not only an able lawyer, but a valuable citizen.”  It would seem, from this description, that the Hart family was most likely well respected and relatively wealthy, giving Mrs. Hart the time and opportunity to engage in community affairs such as the creation of a city library.   In 1896 another ad notes that Hart has “a flourishing real estate business” and “is doing much to bring that particular portion of our settlement [North Ontario] into prominence.”  (Observer Special Edition).  As wife of a prominent citizen, Mrs. Hart was undoubtedly expected to join committees and contribute to the community.  It is not a great reach to envision Mrs. Hart opening her home to a group of interested residents in hopes of strengthening their community for this children and their future.

24 residents gathered at the Hart home in 1900.  Rev. G. C. Giffen was the Chairman of the meeting, and W. Langford acted as the Secretary.  They decided to create the “North Ontario Public Library and Reading Room.”  The members collected $112.00 and agreed to pay 50 cents a year in membership dues.   There is some discrepancy as to what the 50 cent membership dues paid for; some firsthand accounts say that it paid the salary of the librarian, while other primary sources say the fund was used to purchase books.  The group held other meetings in the Presbyterian Church located at the Northeast corner of Euclid and 9th St.   By May 1900 a space had been rented for $5.00 a month above Jackson’s Grocery on the west side of 2nd St. and 9th street.  The library was open two or three days a week.  It was originally run by board members on a rotating basis, although Mrs. Williams was eventually hired as the librarian.  The library board included E. C. Harwood; President, Mrs. Westland-Beaubier, Dr. M. E. Hill, Mrs. L. D. (Sarah) Temple and Charles Ruedy. 

In June 1903 the library was forced to move across the street to the east side of 2nd avenue, north of “Ainsle’s studio.”  Though several sources mention Ainsle as the location, there is no record of a business existing under this name during this time frame.  It is possible that Ainsle was the owner of the space.  The rent at this location was $100.00 a year.   In 1904 Miss Hattie Holyland took over librarian duties and Frances McCormick took over in 1906.  It is unclear whether any of these women: Williams, Holyland or McCormick had any formal library training.  In 1904 or 1905 the library was circulating 450 volumes and a “large number of magazines and periodicals.” (Ingersoll, 1967).   The library was now open every day except Sunday and books were donated by the community or purchased using the monies made from the check-out charge.  In 1904/05 the library board included: M. F. Palmer; President and Mrs. Alice Leonard; Secretary.  Cameron (1931, p.35) notes that visitors had to pay 50 cents to check out a book.  That money was used to pay McCormick’s salary in 1906.
In 1907 the library was forced to move once again when the block of 2nd avenue was purchased for other purposes.   The library was relocated to the “living room in a private home located near the Ruedy building.”  As this third space is wholly undocumented, I cannot say with certainty whose home housed the library.  However, the 1907 and 1908 editions of News Notes of California Libraries, which published information, circulation statistics and number of subscribers of California libraries, lists “Mrs. C. T. McCulluh” as the librarian of the (newly incorporated) Upland Public Library.   I posit that the library was moved into the McCulluh home when the 2nd avenue block was bought out by the city.   C. T. McCulluh was Charles Thomas McCulloch (different spellings), manager of Camp Baldy.  His wife’s name was Adda Barron McCulloch.  According to both obituaries (Charles, 1923 and Adda, 1947), the couple worked together at Camp Baldy for several years after arriving in North Ontario in 1901.  As manager of Camp Baldy McCulloch would have been a prominent member of Upland society.  I can think of no other reason why News Notes would have a McCulluh listed as “librarian.”  The listing in News Notes also says the library has one employee who keeps the library open to the public on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday nights from 7-8pm, and two hours on Saturday afternoon.   It lists the total number of items at 530 with total card holders at 77.  In January, February and March of 1907 the circulation was 207.  Popular books included The Crisis and The Virginian.  An entry from May, 1908 notes that “Miss Alena Brown has presented the library with a history of the world in 32 volumes.”

1913 saw the era of the Carnegie library grants by Andrew Carnegie.  Through his program a city could request grant money to fund the building of a library, and the books inside. The only proviso was that the city requesting the library would also supply funds for books and for the future of the library.  It is unknown who solicited the Carnegie grant although most sources suggest either Charles Harwood or E. C. Harwood.  Upland’s request was granted by the Carnegie Foundation and the city was given $10,000 for the new building.  The city agreed to pay $4,000 for finishing and furnishing the building.  The library was built on the northeast corner of First Avenue and D St.   The official address is 123 East D. St.  It was designed by Homer Glidden.  The Daily Bulletin reports that the contract to build the Carnegie was given to John Gerry on October 7, 1912.  The library was 4,140 square feet and could accommodate 10,000 books. The library boasted two floors; the first floor had high windows and both floors had “large oak tables and chairs” (Pulling, 1960).   The new Carnegie library stored over 1000 books and periodicals.  According to Clucas (2007) by July 1913 the library was getting anxious about the opening of the new building so the Upland News printed a small piece about what steps the librarian had to take in order to ready the library for public use.  These steps included “stamping with the library’s name, fastening the book card pocket, typing the date card, assigning a book number and placing on the shelf.”  On opening day the Carnegie was visited by over 300 patrons.  This included the newly created library board: Edward C. Harwood, Merton E. Hill, Charles Ruedy, Mrs. L. D. Temple and Mrs. E. L. Westland.  Since the library only had roughly 1000 books at this point, the board was given $100 to buy books from a source in Los Angeles.  They were also told to hire a librarian.  Ann(a) Warren was given the job of librarian. We don’t know how much she was paid, although a janitor was hired at $10 a month so we can guess at her salary.   At the end of 1913, the collection had grown to approximately 1,500 items.

In 1914 Adda Manker took over as the librarian of the Carnegie.  In that year the Carnegie also joined the “county free circulating library” so that it could supply more books to their patrons.  Members of the library board expanded to include Mrs. T. R. Woodridge, Miss Fannie Noe and Mrs. Jouchin.  In early 1916 the city council started to use the bottom floor of the library as a meeting space.  They also wanted to convert the space into city council offices.  Sarah Temple is responsible for alerting the California State Librarian, James Gillis, of this action.  Per the rules of the Carnegie grant the library must be used only for library purposes.  Fortunately, the council was not allowed to use the space for their offices or meetings.  In 1920 Mrs. Manker had assistants: Miss Thelma Sikes, Mrs. J. F. Haddow and Miss Wilhelminia Harnley.  During the First World War both floors of the library were used for war work and in the first part of 1918 the library was closed for 4 months due to a serious influenza breakout. By 1920, the Carnegie had over 1,500 patrons and the collection was numbered at over 4,500 items.  In 1930 Mrs. Manker was still librarian, but now she watched over some 11,000 items.

In 1934 the bottom floor of the Carnegie building was remodeled as a separate children’s room. In honor of her long standing on the library board, the room was dubbed the Sarah Temple Junior Library.  In 1945, when Manker retired, the collection number over 35,000.  The library continued to flourish in the Carnegie building with four other librarians at the helm.  Ruth West served from 1945 – 1950.  Lucille MacDonald (Sappenfield) served from 1950 – 1957. Dr. Hazel Pulling served from 1957 – 1960.  Louise Franke was the last librarian to work in the Carnegie building before the new library was built in 1969.