Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Did You Know?

June 1995 Linda Wilson started as Monterey Park City Librarian. At the time that she started the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library was open four and a half days a week in a 28,000 square foot building. Access to the collection was via a card catalog and there was no Internet access for the public. The Reference or Information Desk was not necessarily open when the library was. There were no citizenship classes or teen library services. Flyers and brochures were only available in English. When Wilson left the library at the end of January 2009, the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library was open seven days a week in an expanded and renovated library of more than 52,000 square feet. The library’s catalog was available on the web plus there was also reference service 24/7 via the library’s webpage to answer questions the public might have at anytime of the day or night. There was also homework assistance available via live online chat in both English and Spanish via the library’s webpage. There were 65 computers in the library available for public Internet service. There was an active teen library service program and three citizenship classes a week.  To do this she had the support of City Councils, previous Library Boards, the Monterey Park Library Foundation, the Friends of the Library and staff. Some of the accomplishments during the time Wilson was City Librarian were
Worked with the Library Board and staff to expand library hours with no additional funds to six days a week.
Worked with Measure C Committee (on her off work time) to pass Measure C for Sunday hours of opening, to guarantee 5.3 percent of the General Fund for the library and to fund a small addition to the library.
Worked with Architect Paul Murdoch and Library Board Chair Yukio Kawaratani to write a building program, design a library and write a Plan of Service that led to a successful Proposition 14 Grant Application for almost $8.9 million to fund a renovation and expansion of the library from 28,000 square feet to 52,000 square feet.
Worked with the Library Foundation, Assemblymember Mike Eng and Library Board Chair Yukio Kawaratani to raise more than $600,000 to help in the match for an $8.9 million State Proposition 14 Grant. After raising the funds, Wilson continued to work with the Foundation to raise about $90,000 more, which has been used to purchase library materials.
Helped restart the Friends of the Library, which had practically ceased to exist, and worked with the Friends to restart the Bookstore in the old library and to help make sure there was space in the new library for a Bookstore in the front of the library. Funds from the Friends Bookstore help to fund various programs in the library – e.g. music, Summer Reading, Teen Summer Reading Program, author visits, etc. Worked with the Friends to start a quarterly newsletter.
Worked with staff and volunteers to translate the Library Brochure and Library Card Applications into Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Japanese. Some of the signage in the new library is in Chinese and Spanish to help those who are learning English. Expanded the full-time staff who spoke Spanish from one to three. Increased the number of part-time staff who spoke Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Spanish to be better able to serve the community. This expanded service helped the library staff to win the Public Library Association’s award for service to multicultural populations.
Worked with staff to start classes in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Spanish in how to use the computer, E-mail and searching the Internet.
Worked with Kent Twitchell and former Mayor Rita Valenzuela, who supplied the funding, to have four murals representing children’s literature from various countries on the walls of the second floor of the new library.
Hired the first teen librarian and worked with the teen librarians to start programming for teens including the Teen Summer Reading Program, teen book discussion groups and teen automation programs. Worked with staff to start library presentations in the Middle and High Schools. Helped establish a Junior Friends of the Library for teen volunteers. The Junior Friends conduct at least one program a month for teens, do the Saturday morning story time, help with library exhibits and programs at the Cherry Blossom Festival and Kids Day, do the annual Easter Egg Hunt, help with the annual Tutor-Learner Recognition Program, help with the Summer Reading Program including helping with the final party, produce the Friends Newsletter, help with Children’s craft programs, help with the homework assistance for elementary school students, etc.
Expanded library collections to include DVDs, CDs, Board Books, books on CDs and books of interest to Teens.
Worked with previous Library Boards to establish various policies – e.g. Collections, meeting room, display, materials for public distribution, gift, etc.
Applied successfully for grants to add the Asian Collections to the public catalog, purchase computers for Internet access (via the Gates Foundation), expand services to Latinos, establish a Family Place (i.e. to make the library more welcoming for families with small children), purchase children’s books, expand services to small businesses, fund teen programming, establish 24/7 online reference answering service, start online homework assistance for kindergarten through college, purchase library materials, train librarian interns and conduct book discussions (topics included The West – Whose West?, California history and culture, Japanese American experience, Jewish literature and Love and Forgiveness).  Every year Wilson was City Librarian, she wrote one or more successful grants to bring federal, State and corporate grants to Monterey Park. These grants totaled more than $200,000. With the Proposition 14 grant Wilson brought more than $9.2 million in grants to Monterey Park.
Worked with literacy staff to expand the literacy program to Families for Literacy, citizenship and working with the schools including the Alhambra Adult School. Wrote the original grant for AmeriCorps Workers to help with the literacy program. Wrote or helped write grants to fund these services. Worked with Assemblymember Mike Eng to establish the Harvey Elparin Tutor of the Year Award.
Expanded automation services. The original text based automated catalog from 1995 was updated to the Millennium edition which is web based. Reintroduced the OCLC cataloging and interlibrary loan system so that the public would have access to millions of items worldwide via interlibrary loan. The library had this system for less than a year in the early 1990s. Upgraded public Internet access from dial-up to T1 line to fiber optic to increase the speed of public Internet access. Established wireless public Internet access on most of the first floor of the library. Established self-checkout.
Worked with staff to establish a yearly program to honor library volunteers including establishing a patron of the year award.

Leave a Response