First Librarian

The first city librarian was Inez Mabel Crawford. She was the city's librarian from 1911-1937. Her family came from Kansas originally and they settled in San Mateo. In the photo to the right is the main room of the Carnegie Library built in 1907. Inez Crawford can be seen standing behind the circulation desk with her assistant librarian Eugenia McLellan. The total salary, according to the 1912 Annual Report, for both library workers was $1,270.80. This was over 1/3 of the total library expenses of $3,074.27. So, the salary expenses back in 1912 were a much smaller percentage of the budget than in the present time. Since no other library workers were mentioned Inez and Eugenia probably performed custodial duties as well, unless volunteers were available to help out. Judging by literature on librarianship during this time period their duties usually went beyond just being a librarian as we know it today.

Aside from her obvious competence, evidenced by her successful stewardship of the library for so many years, she had a genuine commitment to the library. Contributions made by Inez included her efforts on behalf of a bond issue that funded an expansion tripling the size of the library. She left a legacy behind when she died as well, leaving the Crawford Trust Account. A photo taken of Inez in 1915 shows a dark haired attractive woman with a serious expression on her face. She does not fit the old stereotype of a stern, spinsterish figure. However, she does convey an air of no-nonsense capability.

Given the fact that most of the library schools were located back East, Inez would probably not have had a library degree or specialized training. In California, the Los Angeles Public Library offered a course equivalent to other library schools, but it only trained assistants from their system. This policy did not change until 1914, several years after her beginning tenure at SMPL.

Between the years of 1911-1920, when Inez was librarian, the library had sections for adults and children. Aside from lectures, various events were probably held here. One such event was a Dahlia Show in 1915.

Inez was librarian at the SMPL for almost 30 years, so she very devoted to the library. In most records she is listed as the first librarian (she started in 1911). The new library building itself opened several years before in 1907. Any other individuals serving before her must have been temporarily in the position because their names did not appear in any documentation.

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