Sunday, April 3, 2011
Hawthorne's first library was established in 1913 and the current branch was built in 1962. The new branch quickly proved popular - in it's first six months circulation numbers jumped from a ranking of 26th place (for the previous branch) to 5th place. By 1965 the branch was the most used regional branch in the county system with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights being the busiest. Shortly after the library opened, a group of 'young folks', ranging in age from 10 to 14, formed the Junior Friends of the Hawthorne Library. The ambitious group of approximately 50 had committees for arts and posters, children's book week, school co-ordinating, ways and means, refreshments and special services. In 1964, the (adult) Friends of the Hawthorne Library began a program of creating 'talking books' for the visually handicapped. Volunteers read from such classics as Dickens Christmas Carol and Goodbye Mr. Chips and were recorded on a reel to reel machine donated by the Hawthorne Lions Club.
Community programs during their first decade included art exhibits, film series and investment lectures. During the mid-1970s they also circulated 8mm and super 8mm for 10 cents each.
You learn something new everyday! A 1970 article in the Los Angeles Times on the cookbooks of the Hawthorne library has a librarian explaining that each county library concentrates on one of the 10 Dewey decimal classifications from 000 to 999 and their specialty is the 600s "and that includes cooking, dogs, data processing, gardening, carpentry, cats and winemaking."
In 1978, as part of Hawthorne Library's 65th anniversary celebration, children were invited to submit artwork depicting what they thought the library looked like in 1913 or what they think it will look like in the year 2000. I wonder if they saved any of those?
Today the library is an excellent resource for car buffs (with a whole aisle populated with Chilton manuals) and crafters (more craft books than you can shake a bejeweled stick at). Every Wednesday night a group of local residents, known as the Hawthorne Knit Wits, meet at the library to work on their knitting and crocheting. Evidence of their handiwork, in the form of bookworm bookmarks, can be purchased at the front counter for $1.00.