Branch Locations & Hours - Downtown



224 Church Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-3873  (View Map View Map)

Downtown: 831-427-7707   
Genealogical Collection: 831-427-7707   ext. 5794
Library Account Questions: 831-427-7707   
Telephone Reference: 831-427-7713   
Young People's Room: 831-427-7707   ext. 5720

Branch Services — Beyond Books...

  • Homework Centers
    9 terminals with one hour time limit
    Internet access, word processing, educational games, headphones
    Limited to ages 18 and under
    First 10 pages printed free (K-12 homework only), 15¢ per page thereafter
  • Meeting Rooms
    Maximum occupancy limit: 63

    Contact: Administrative Assistant (831-427-7707)
  • Microfilm Readers
  • Public Internet Access - Adults
    15 internet terminals with one hour time limit; printing is 15¢ per page
  • Teen Self Help Collection
  • Test Proctoring
    Contact: Sue Graziano [grazianos@santacruzpl.org]
  • Text Enlarger
    No reservations are required, but you must know how to use the equipment. Please contact Telephone Reference to set up an appointment for instruction — and to verify the capabilities of the equipment.
    Contact: Telephone Reference (831-427-7713)
  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Word Processing - Adults
    Four Word Kiosk PCs are available for use during all open hours. The PCs have Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as printing and internet access. Patrons can sign in for a one hour session on the PC (there is no reservation system). Work may be saved to the patron's own thumb drive or floppy diskette.
    Contact: Telephone Reference (831-427-7713)

About the Branch:

Square Feet: 44,000

Downtown

The history of the Downtown Branch library begins in 1903 when it became the first of four Carnegie funded libraries that were built in Santa Cruz. All four of these buildings were designed by noted California architect William H. Weeks.

The Downtown Branch, which was known as the "Carnegie Library," received a $20,000 grant of Carnegie funds, and the cornerstone was laid on September 29, 1903. On April 14, 1904, the new Carnegie Library of Santa Cruz, at the corner of Church and Center Streets, was formally opened with the appropriate ceremonies. The new building had two floors, with a total of about 9,000 square feet. The book collection was around 14,000 volumes and served a population of 10,000.

By 1953 though, the building was considered to be too small, and on November 3, 1964, a library bond measure to construct a new building finally passed. In April, 1965, the architectural firm of Spencer, Lee, and Busse of San Francisco was chosen to design the new building, with final building plans approved by the City Council on July 13, 1966. Arthur Brothers, Inc., of San Mateo was chosen for construction of the new building, and the old Carnegie Library was demolished in September 1966.

The new library was completed in March, 1968, and a Grand Opening ceremony and dedication was held on April 27, 1968. The building had two floors, and included an Art and Music Room upstairs, which eventually became today's Young People's Room.

Over the intervening years, the current building has undergone a number of major renovation projects: floor plan changes, staff moves, new carpeting, lighting, and wiring, painting, landscaping, and several asbestos abatement projects, are some examples. The building withstood the 7.1 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake of October 17, 1989 without any structural damage, but serious damage occurred to shelving on the first and second floors.

The Downtown Branch contains the largest collection of any branch in the library system, with over 215,000 items, and includes a California History and Genealogy Room used extensively by a number of researchers. The cornerstone of the original Carnegie Library can still be seen in the landscaped area at the corner of Church and Center Streets.

Last updated by ann on Nov. 16, 2012

Branch Hours

  • Sun   1 PM - 5 PM
  • Mon   10 AM - 7 PM
  • Tue   10 AM - 7 PM
  • Wed   10 AM - 7 PM
  • Thu   10 AM - 7 PM
  • Fri   10 AM - 5 PM
  • Sat   10 AM - 5 PM

Meet Mike Wilson...

Mike Wilson

As a young boy growing up in La Selva Beach, Mike Wilson recalls going to the small branch library and checking out books like H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds. Now, as an adult with a business in town, he's giving something back to the library. Wilson and his wife, ...

[Read more]