Our Carnegie Library

Our Carnegie Library

Story Hour at the Pacific Grove Public Library, 1956

The Pacific Grove Public Library is Monterey County’s only remaining Carnegie library that is still used as a free public library. It is a distinction that makes our structure an irreplaceable part of the history of our community and of our state.

Library History

In 1906, Paris Kilburn, president of the library trustees for Pacific Grove, contacted Andrew Carnegie, who promised $10,000 for the erection of a new library building. The Pacific Improvement Company and its president, Horace G. Platt, donated the land, valued at $10,000, for the new library. The building eventually cost a little over $14,000. It was designed by the McDougall Brothers, for a fee of $834, in the Mission style. The cornerstone was laid on November 9, 1907, and the Pacific Grove Carnegie Library officially opened on May 12, 1908.

In 2011, a group of volunteers formed the Pacific Grove Public Library Foundation (“PGPLF”) to provide a source of long-term financial support for our library that would supplement public funding. Our library is a civic treasure. It continues to grow, thanks to the dedication of the library staff, the Friends, so many hardworking volunteers, and now, the Pacific Grove Public Library Foundation. We welcome you to join us and take your place in supporting and preserving the Pacific Grove Public Library by contributing to the Foundation.

Pacific Grove Public Library, newest addition 1977

About Carnegie Libraries

Andrew Carnegie came to America from Scotland as a boy. Largely self-taught, he understood that knowledge is the foundation of a successful and fulfilling life. He earned his fortune in steel, and throughout his life generously gave back to his adopted country. Among his many gifts, he donated more than $41 million to build 1,679 public libraries in America. The Pacific Grove Public Library, completed in 1908, was one of them.

Carnegie had a very high regard for libraries and their value to the public. One of the many observations he made about their significance is: “A library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never failing spring in the desert.”

According to the Carnegie Libraries in California project, California is second only to Indiana in the number of grants received from Carnegie. Click to learn more.

Pacific Grove Public Library, 1949