Library Cards tell Glendale's Story

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What's happening in libraries today?

Library Card Sept 2015They’re more about DOING than borrowing.

They’re more about CONNECTING than simply plugging in.

Whether you want to get involved in your community, find a job, start a business, or simply get ahead, your library card is the key to opportunity. A library card opens doors and opens minds

Visit a Library, Arts & Culture location and pick up a new library card.


Library, Arts & Culture began using photographs from its unique historical collections in 2007. The cards have become popular with Library visitors who identify with a certain library building or scene from Glendale's history, and as a way to distinguish their library cards from their credit cards.



BLAC logo_FsmThese designs celebrate Brand Library & Art Center's 2014 reopening after a two-year renovation project. Some images merge photographs of restored mansion rooms with the same rooms circa 1906-1910. The modern photographs were taken by Library, Arts & Culture Administrator Carolyn Flemming, the renovation's project manager. These card designs were first made available at Brand Library & Art Center on reopening day, March 27, 2014.




BrandLibraryCard2014-DiningRoomASM     DrawingRoomCirca1910SM 

BrandLibraryCard2014-DrawingRoomSM     DiningRoomCirca1910SM 

BrandLibraryCard2014-ReceptionRoomSM     ReceptionCirca1910SM


2012This design has a view of the Central Library from the lawn of the Adult Recreation Center to the south.




2010-1930Airplane Crossing, 1930



2010-1932Einstein, 1932



2010-1946Bob Hope, 1946



2010-2002Rose Float, 2002 




A series of four Historic Glendale cards became available to borrowers at all Library sites on July 26, 2008, the same day the Library opened its newest branch, Library Connection @ Adams Square. 

2008-1910Miradero Gate, circa 1910




Glendale Union High School, 1915




Amelia Earhart, 1928




Glendale City Hall, 1912 




The Library celebrated 100 years of service to the community in 2007. Adult borrowers traded in their old Library Cards for one of six new Centennial Library Cards.

GlendaleCardCentral1914Central Library, 1914
Library services in Glendale were first provided in 1906 when the members of the Tuesday Afternoon Club, a social and philanthropic organization, raised money through a series of lectures to fund a library collection. The library opened in a renovated poolroom with seventy books, and became a municipal library the next year. The Central Library building shown here opened in 1914 with the help of a grant from the Andrew Carnegie Corporation. By 1923, the City's 35,000 residents were borrowing about 150,000 books a year. The Casa Verdugo Library was established in 1926 as the library system's second neighborhood library and in that same year the Central Library building was enlarged to twice its original size.

Today the community borrows over 1 million items every year from the Library's collections of almost 700,000 books, over 25,000 music CDs and almost 14,000 movies. The addition of wireless Internet and the ability to download literally thousands of magazine and newspaper articles make the Library and its website--open 24 hours, seven days a week--valuable community resources. The Library continues to expand and grow with its community and in this year residents will be able to visit its new branch in Adams Square.

GlendaleCardBrandBrand Library, 1904
The design of El Miradero, Glendale businessman Leslie C. Brand's palatial home shown here in 1904, is similar to the East Indian Pavilion built for the 1893 Columbian World Exposition held in Chicago and visited by Brand. In 1921, Brand hosted the country's first "fly-in" luncheon at El Miradero. Brand's estate was later bequeathed to the city and officially became part of the Glendale Public Library system in 1956. A gallery and a recital hall were added in 1969.

Today the Library's art and music collections include 107,000 books, over 26,000 music CDs and a variety of online art and music resources. Located in Brand Park, high in the foothills overlooking Glendale and the San Fernando Valley, Brand Library & Art Center - - serves an ever-widening public interested in the arts.

GlendaleCardSanitarium1893Glendale Hotel, circa 1890s
The Glendale Hotel, shown here in the 1890s, witnessed the birth of our hometown as local settlers and ranchers began calling the surrounding valley area "Glendale." By 1887, a Glendale town site had been established. Glendale became a city in 1906 and opened a municipal Library the following year. Now, over a century later, Library, Arts & Culture continues to evolve and grow as one of the community's most innovative resources.

GlendaleCardGrandCentral1933Grand Central Air Terminal and TWA airplane, 1933
The Grand Central Air Terminal was the first major airport in the Los Angeles area. Considered southern California's premier airport at the time, it offered the first paved runway west of the Rocky Mountains, and was the region's most glamorous airport during the 1920s and 1930s. Amelia Earhart drove a gravel truck at Grand Central to pay for flying lessons, and worked for Transcontinental Air Transport, later known as TWA.

Today the site is owned by the Disney Corporation and is part of its Grand Central Creative Campus project. A Disney-produced mural depicting the history of aviation in Glendale is located at the Central Library. For more information about Grand Central Air Terminal read John Underwood's delightful book, Madcaps, Millionaires and Mose,or borrow Thom Eberhardt's entertaining documentary film, When Glendale Ruled The Skies, from any Library, Arts & Culture location.

GlendaleCardCentral1949Central Library, 1949
The Central Library opened a more welcoming room just for children in 1949 and called it the Hans Christian Anderson Room. That year 60 children participated in the Library's reading program. Now participation in this popular program has grown to almost 7,000 every summer. Families can choose from programs that are geared for babies as young as 6 months all the way up to middle school age students.

GlendaleCardRedCar1955Red Car, 1955
Glendale businessman Leslie C. Brand partnered with Henry Huntington to bring an interurban railroad to the area in 1904. Many residents rode the Pacific Electric Red Cars to visit their Library for books and programs until buses replaced the Glendale line in 1955. During the mid-1950's, people were checking out close to 750,000 books and other materials annually and it took three full-time librarians to answer about 70,000 phone inquires a year. It is no wonder that the Library started doing a little traveling itself nearly a decade later to serve even more of its users. Bookmobile services began in 1963 to much success.

While today's patrons continue to frequent the Library to enjoy its many enriching programs and use its expansive collections, they don't have to take a step outside of their homes for a Library visit. They can "visit" the Library online and choose from a multitude of resources such as downloadable books and music, research and news articles, virtual reference services, live homework help, and much more!

To find out more about the Red Cars read Spencer Crump's Ride The Big Red Cars or borrow Thom Eberhardt's documentary film This Was Pacific Electric from any Library, Arts & Culture location.

Our patrons have used a variety of library card designs since the computerized catalog system was implemented in the mid 1980s.

Library Card BarcodeMany library borrowers still use their original thin plastic "barcode" library cards. \



LogoCard_100pxA "credit card" style borrower's card featured the Library logo in the 1990s. 






Cards for children and teens were introduced in 2005. The Children's card was designed by then Children's Room Manager Theresa Robinett based on features found in the Children's Room. Robinett also designed the set of the popular GTV6 televised storytime program, TreeHouse Tales.





The Teen card was designed by then Glendale High School students Min Ji Yi and Eun Jung Lee. 




An eCard allows visitors to reserve and use computers, access electronic resources remotely and check-out eBooks. A photo ID is all that is required to get an eCard.