History of the Library

  • PG Library Christmas 1953
    Library interior, Christmas 1956
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library
  • Library Dedication, 1977. Pictured from left to right: Leon Panetta, Congressman, Margaret McBride, Librarian, Frank Wilkerson, Library Board and Gary Bales, City manager.
    Library Dedication, 1977
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library
  • Pacific Grove Carnegie Library
    Carnegie Library exterior
    Photo courtesy of Pacific Grove Public Library

In 1886 the first library in Pacific Grove opened in the “reading corner” of the Old Parlor. The Old Parlor was located at 165 Fountain Avenue at the corner of Fountain and High, now Ricketts Lane. It was used as a community hall from the early 1880s until 1910. 

The Pacific Grove Library Association also dates from 1886. In 1904 the collection was given to the city which obtained a Carnegie grant of $10,000 in 1906. The Pacific Improvement Company donated the lot, itself valued at $10,000. Total costs far exceeded the grant; therefore, plans were modified and the difference made up through taxation. McDougall Bros. designed the building and Henry Chivers and the Granite Rock Company were the builders. At the dedication, Paris Kilburn praised the building in which size but not quality was sacrificed. He named all the craftsmen, and berated complainers: “What you want here is your taxes not lowered but increased, and abandon the idea of getting something for nothing.” The library was enlarged in 1926, 1938, 1950 and most recently in 1978-1981 with the new steep gable roof incorporating all.

In 1908 the Pacific Grove Public Library opened at 550 Central Avenue, Pacific Grove, California 93950.

Although the exterior of the original Carnegie building has changed somewhat, it is still in the Mission style, and many of the original features in the interior, including the lovely arches and windows of the Reading Area, have been maintained. These features, along with a library staff long noted for friendly assistance and high quality service, combine to provide a welcoming atmosphere to everyone who visits the library.

In October 2019 the library moved to a temporary location at 542 Lighthouse Ave., #111 while the building on Central Ave. undergoes a remodel.