CC SA-BY Our Oakland

The Glenview Branch Library opened in October 1935 and within the first 10 days, 400 library cards were issued.  Although Glenview residents lobbied for seven years to keep the library open, the Glenview Branch Library was permanently closed in 1981. 

On September 30, 1980, the Glenview Branch Library was designated an Oakland Landmark, and on February 25, 1997, the Glenview Branch Library Interior was also designated as a city landmark. The Library was located at 4231 Park Boulevard.


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Around 1926, a small group of Glenview neighbors gathered with a common goal: to open a community library. They petitioned the City of Oakland for years until the city approved an ordinance authorizing the branch in 1933.

Local developer Harry P. Fisher, who developed most of the Park Boulevard strip, sold (or perhaps donated) a parcel of land to the city and in 1935, building permit A57581 was issued. Architects Archie & Noble Newsom constructed a Spanish colonial building with sweeping rafters and wall-to-wall bookcases. Close to a Safeway store and gas station, the Glenview Library branch offered an unprecedented service to the neighborhood.

The library opened to large crowds on October 11, 1935. Mayor William J. McCracken presided at the opening. Reverend Rollo LaPorte of the Park Blvd. Presbyterian Church gave the keynote speech, titled "Literature and Life." Several community members, including officials from Glenview Elementary, Edna Brewer Middle School (then McChesney) and Oakland High School came for the festivities. City librarian John B. Kaiser championed the effort, calling the branch’s existence as the result of the “community’s seven-year agitation” that benefited countless Oaklanders.

For nearly fifty years, Glenviewers browsed titles and leafed through books on the sunny, rear patio of the library. In 1981 the library closed its doors, due to California's ill-fated Proposition 13 and the opening of the nearby Dimond branch. After its closure, a self-serve "deposit collection" opened in July 1982 and continued through 1994. After earning landmark status, ultimately the lovely building at 4231 Park Blvd. was sold. The City of Oakland granted the property to John Richard Nelson and Billy Gene Davis, who opened a musical organ shop. (The deed may be viewed here.) The remnants of the library remain today, even if the bookcases only gather dust. 1

Relictree Fitness is now open in the former Glenview Branch Library . They have done a stunning job renovating the building while preserving its historical roots, down to the original bookshelves which you will still find around the perimeter of the studio.

Glenview Branch Library, Oakland, California 1  Glenview Branch Library interior, Oakland, California 1

Links and References

  1. Community - courtesy of the Oakland History Room)