November 28, 2012

History of San Leandro's Library

The following history of San Leandro was prepared by Marie Tinsley in 1950. Tinsley was appointed Librarian in 1938.


Prepared by Miss Marie E. Tinsley, September 28, 1950

(From Standard-Observer, April 26, 1919). In 1892 a circulating library club was organized with dues fixed at $.50 per month. Funds thus realized were used to buy books in popular demand. The association had headquarters at office of San Leandro Standard on Davis Street where Editor Truesdale acted as librarian. After several months, interest flagges, dues were hard to collect and the collection of books remaining passed into hands of librarian in lieu of salary unpaid.

Next concerted effort was a benefit entertainment by a group of local young people, a dramatic performance on April 12, 1902, which netted $39.00. Sum deposited in Bank of San Leandro.

From 1902 - 1905 Library spirit waned. During these years O.J. Lynch had a small collection of books in his store (now Ortzow's Drug Store ), consisting of volumes donated by various persons, and loaned without charge. The Ebell Club of Oakland heard of his efforts and in 1903 supplemented his stock with a case of books from their circulating library. The considerable demand for these books aroused interest of Daniel McCarthy and at his suggestion an application was made to the then recently organized circulating department or California State Library at Sacramento. 50 volumes were obtained, with bookcase and charging system.

On May 3, 1905, O.J. Lynch, L. D. McArdle, L. B. Critchlow, Dr. C. H. Miller, and Dr. K. B. Smith, met and organized the San Leandro Public Library Association. Mr. Lynch was elected President and Mr. McArdle, Secretary-Treasurer and Librarian. Books were removed to the office of the San Leandro Oyster Company, where Mr. McArdle gave an hour a day to library work.

After a few months Mr. McArdle left San Leandro and the library was once more placed in charge of Tony Thomas and Mr. Lynch in the drug store of the latter, where it remained for several months.

Near the close of 1905, Dr. Miller and Mr. Lynch, sole remaining representatives of the Library Association, petitioned the City Trustees that they should assume charge of the rapidly growing institution. Board of City Trustees gave the matter their enthusiastic support, and besides appointing a Board of Library Trustees, made a 5 mill increase in the tax levy for the support of the library.

San Leandro Free Library, 1907
San Leandro's first free library was located on E. 14th Street near Ward Street (Now W. Estudillo Ave.). Note the watering trough in front.

The San Leandro Free Public Library began its existence on the evening of January 31, 1906, when the newly appointed Board of Library Trustees met in the office of Judge Frank. There were present, A.B.Cary, Mrs. J.H. Garcia, Mrs. R.D.James, Dr. C.H.Miller, and A.A.Rogers, and the board organized by electing M. Rogers, and President Dr. Miller, Secretary.

The new board immediately appointed Miss Mary Brown to be Librarian and petitioned the City Trustees for permission to remove the library to the City Hall. In its quarters in the general meeting room, the popularity of the library increased by leaps and bounds, as evidenced by the fact that the daily circulation doubled each month for the first three months.

About the middle of the year the library was forced to seek new quarters on account of the necessity for more room for the Citizens Relief Committee caring for refugees from the San Francisco earthquake.

[The rest of the history is after the break.]

A room in the Borman Block leased and fitted with shelving and tables, answered the requirements for many months.

Toward the end of 1907 it was proposed that application should be made to Andrew Carnegie for funds to erect a suitable library building, and Talcot Patchen Cary made an unsolicited offer of the site on Estudillo Avenue, this offer on condition that citizens of San Leandro subscribe a sum of at least $2000.00 to be used in the purchase of books and furniture, before February 1, 1908, and that the building be erected on the property as expeditiously as possible.

The San Leandro Board of Trade, the Alta Mira Club, and the City Trustees went to work at once and secured the needed subscriptions.

(*A list of donors of gifts from $100 to $5 is given in the San Leandro Reporter, Feb. 8, 1908)

(From San Leandro Reporter, February 8, 1908.) Gift of Mr. T. P. Cary was given under the following conditions:

1. That upon said described lot a building be erected to be used as a Free Public Library.

2. That said land be not used for any other purpose except for the erection of library building, as aforesaid, including reading rooms, assembly hall, and kindred purposes.

3. That no less than the sum of $10,000 be expended for the library building only.

4. That said library building be completed wi thin eighteen months from date hereof.

5. That the sum of $2,000, at least, be collected from the citizens of San Leandro and held at the disposal of the Board of Library Trustees to be expended for furnishing the library building when completed.

6. I reserve the right to remove the barn now upon the premises.

Mr. William H. Weeks of Watsonville was the architect who prepared the plans for the building.

Word was received from Andrew Carnegie on May 11, 1908, that $10,00 was at the disposal of the library trustees. Bids were called for and Ernest Anderson secured the contract to erect the building for the sum of $9,200. The painting cost $300.00 more.

However, before the building was completed, the trustees realized that on account of the increase in the size of the city by reason of the annexation of the large territory on the the Oakland side of San Leandro Creek, more accommodations would be needed. They petitioned Mr. Carnegie for an additional $2,000.00 to finish the basement for men's reading room and auditorium, which was granted, and March 1909 saw the completion of the new library.

Miss Mary Brown as librarian and the Board of Library Trustees: A.B.Cary, President; Dr. C.H.Miller, Secretary; Mrs. J.H. Garcia, Mrs Josephine Russell, and C.A.Harwell.

The dedication of the new building took place on May 14, 1909.

San Leandro Carnegie Library, 1908-1909
San Leandro Carnegie Library, 1908-1909

In 1936-1937, by an addition to the building, the capacity was doubled. This addition, made possible by the fines accumulated through many years, and through the aid of W.P.A. funds and workers, was called the "Mary Brown Addition" to honor the years of untiring service of the librarian, Miss Mary Brown, who resigned in 1938 because of ill health.

Miss Marie Tinsley, who was appointed Librarian in 1938, has held that position up to the present.

Even with the additional space and equipment, the library has been pressed to keep up with the phenomenal growth of San Leandro. In 1940 the Broadmoor Branch Library, formerly a County Library Branch, was taken over as a branch of the City Library for full support and administration.

In 1940, July 16th, a new Children's Room was formally opened to the public. The Auditorium in the basement had been remodelled and redecorated and shelving added. With its own outside entrance, it provided an ideal home for the youngsters from four to fifteen.

In 1947-48, extensive changes were made in the basement. The book-mending room, removed to another part of the building, became a staff and board room. Storage and toilet facilities were added, a dumb waiter for moving books was installed, and the Children's Room was redecorated and fluorescent lights replaced the outmoded ones.

A few statistics may show quickly the growth of both city library. How soon the "seams" will have to be "let out" once more remains to been seen. The present library board are deeply interested in all questions concerning the welfare of the library and devote many hours to consideration of needs, problems, and their solution.

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November 19, 2012

Two Final Candidates for San Leandro's Chief Innovation Officer

City of San Leandro Chief Innovation Officer flyer

San Leandro Director of Engineering and Transportation Uche Udemezue reported on November 14, 2012, that the candidates for the City's new Chief Innovation Officer have been narrowed down to two. Udemezue noted that the City Manager and Assistant City Manager were not at the San Leandro City Council's Facilities and Transportation Committee meeting because they were in interviews.

The Chief Innovation Officer job classification was approved by the Personnel Relations Board on July 19, 2012. According to a September 4, 2012, staff report, OSIsoft will fund 75% of the position's costs ($139,650) in the first year and the remaining 25% ($46,500) will be funded from City of San Leandro reserves. OSIsoft CEO Patrick Kennedy founded Lit San Leandro, which uses city-owned conduit to run fiber-optic strands in an 11-mile loop around the city and will be expanded by a recent grant.

According to the flyer for the Chief Innovation Officer position, the anticipated appointment date is December 10, 2012.

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November 11, 2012

Chabot Dam Seismic Upgrade Will Temporarily Close San Leandro's Chabot Park and Trail

Chabot Dam Upgrade Map
The East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) is preparing for a seismic upgrade of Chabot Dam that is planned to take a year to complete, starting in the fall of 2014. The upgrade is in response to a 2005 study predicting that Chabot Dam would suffer settlement of 1.5 to 3.5 feet in the event of a maximum credible earthquake of magnitude 7.25 on the Hayward Fault. This potential for settlement was created in the 1880s when surface fill was added to the bottom of the dam. Since the dam is 23 feet higher than the water level, the settlement would not cause the dam to fail, but would require cleanup of the settled soil.

The report also predicts that the tower would fail, potentially damaging the outlet piping. The pavilion, which covers the tower, is scheduled to be removed as part of the upgrade process.

In order to complete the upgrade, between 6,000 and 12,000 truck trips will be needed to haul dirt to and from Chabot Dam. Although the route of truck traffic has not yet been determined, the trucks could use Estudillo Avenue and the bridge across San Leandro Creek at the end of Estudillo Avenue to haul the dirt. This means that San Leandro's Chabot Park will be closed for an extended period of time and will mean summer day camps will have to be moved. The West Shore Trail between Chabot Park and Lake Chabot will also be closed during construction.

The San Leandro City Council received a presentation on the seismic upgrade at its September 17, 2012, meeting. Similar presentations were made to Friends of San Leandro Creek on September 18 and the San Leandro Disaster Council on October 26.

EBMUD will prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to starting the project and will provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft EIR prior to 2014.

Chabot Dam created Lake Chabot, which provides an emergency water supply for EBMUD, in 1875. Water from Lake Chabot also supplies the Lake Chabot and Willow Park golf courses.

EBMUD's project page is available at and a list of frequently asked questions is available at For more information, contact Michelle Blackwell at

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November 10, 2012

Mack-Rose Cuts Into Reed's Lead in San Leandro City Council District 2 Race

As of Saturday, November 10, 2012, the San Leandro City Council District 2 race between incumbent Ursula Reed and Morgan Mack-Rose continues to be too close to call with Reed leading by just 81 votes after the ranked choice algorithm is run. On election night, Reed's lead was 97 votes, which increased to 117 on Wednesday and then 149 on Friday.

Although Reed leads Mack-Rose with 7,692 (42.34%) to 6,985 (38.45%) first-place votes, Mack-Rose has been getting about 44% of Dan Dillman's second-place votes. Reed has been getting about 26% of Dillman's second-place votes while 30% of voters who made Dillman their first choice indicated no second or third choice.

In 2010, a total of 23,494 votes were cast in the San Leandro City Council elections. However, since this election was a presidential election, a higher turnout is expected, though not as high as the 2008 election, when 26,776 votes were cast in the District 2 runoff election. With 19,753 ballots counted so far, there are likely 4,000 to 5,000 more San Leandro ballots to be counted.

Mayor Stephen Cassidy won the 2010 election over incumbent Tony Santos by 232 votes after initially trailing Santos by 74 first place votes. At this point, Mack-Rose faces a 707-vote first-place vote deficit.

In 2010, the Alameda County Registrar of Voters (ROV) certified the election results 17 days after the election and 11 days before the 28-day required deadline. If the ROV performs the same this year, the District 2 election results may not be known until November 23.

Update: On Sunday, November 11, 2012, the latest vote totals and RCV show Reed with a 405 vote lead. Even if there are more votes to be counted, Reed is almost certain to be the eventual winner.

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November 6, 2012

Prola Wins; Reed, and Lee Lead in San Leandro City Council Races

With all precincts reporting, San Leandro City Council incumbent Jim Prola has been re-elected in District 6 while fellow incumbent Ursula Reed narrowly leads Morgan Mack-Rose in District 2. In District 4, Benny Lee heads the field and will likely win.

While Reed leads in District 2, Dan Dillman's second choice votes will likely decide the eventual winner. Approximately 44% of Dillman's second choice are going to Mack-Rose and 26% to Reed. This race is too close to call.

In District 4, Lee looks to be the winner with Darlene Daevu and Justin Hutchison's second-place votes almost evenly split between Lee and Chris Crow.

Prola will clearly win the San Leandro City Council District 6 race over San Leandro School Board member Hermy Almonte.

San Leandro City Council District 2, 57 of 57 PrecinctsVotes%
Ursula Reed709642.28
Morgan Mack-Rose638438.04
Dan Dillman325919.42

San Leandro City Council District 4, 57 of 57 PrecinctsVotes%
Benny Lee660043.21
Chris Crow387625.37
Darlene Daevu312220.44
Justin Hutchison163010.67

San Leandro City Council District 6, 57 of 57 PrecinctsVotes%
Jim Prola863555.57
Hermy Almonte683644.0
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