Brentwood Library opens its doors
Over one hundred and seven years ago, in January, 1914, the doors of the first Brentwood Library opened at First and Oak Streets at a cost of $400. The building was destroyed by fire in 1919. The remaining books were stored in a building at Liberty High School. In 1920, the Brentwood Library Association purchased the building for $850. They moved the building to 648 Second Street, on land owned by the Balfour-Guthrie Company.
In 1979, a new Brentwood Library opened in the Delta Community Center complex by the City Park. It had 4,000 square feet and held 17,000 books.The Friends of the Brentwood Library formed the following year to help support the library with materials and programs. In 1994, Lois Kelley helped raise $142,000 to expand the library by 1,540 square feet to add a children’s room and a bigger staff area
Brentwood Library opens at the Delta Community Center
Friends of the Brentwood Library is Formed
In 1980, members of the Women’s Club of Brentwood formed Friends of the Brentwood Library. The Friends became an official non-profit in 1982 when it became a Charitable Trust under California laws. In 2020, Friends of the Brentwood Library reformed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation under Federal and State Law.
Brentwood began as a farming community in the late 19th century, and is still known today for its agricultural products, such as its cherries, corn, and peaches. Since the 1990s, Brentwood has become increasingly residential, with its population growth in the triple digits during the 1990s, and at 69% from 2000 to 2005. Between 2000 and 2005, Brentwood grew in size from 23,302 to 43,200. As of 2010, the population of Brentwood was 51,481, which was an increase of 121% from 23,265 as of the 2000 census. By 2020, Brentwood’s population reached 64,499.
Due to rapid population growth, the City Council embarked on a project to build suitable government facilities for the future. To make room for a new City Hall, Community Center and parking structure, the library was demolished in 2009. It was relocated to city-owned office space across the street at 104 Oak Street. Funds were set aside for renovation of those offices.
During this time, citizens questioned the appropriateness of locating the library in city office buildings as well as the library’s size. A professional Library Needs Assessment was done, and recommendations on building current size, features and content were established. The goal of the assessment was to determine the current and future community library needs, using the library’s site in a way that increases services but maintains operating costs.
A look at the community
Photo used with permission from the East Contra Costa Historical Society
The new Brentwood Library opens it’s doors,
The temporary location for the library was torn down in 2017 and the library was moved temporarily to Community Center. The new Brentwood Library opened in 2018. The new library, which is 18,000 feet in size, was built by the City of Brentwood for $13.5 million. The library is operated by the Contra Costa Library system, and provides an expanded book collection as well as a children’s book area, a program room, and a community room for community events and library programs. The Brentwood Library Foundation raised over $700,000 from individuals, foundations, and businesses to purchase furniture, books, laptop computers, public art, and other enhancements to the library.