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About Monterey County Free Libraries


The Mission of Monterey County Free Libraries is to bring ideas, inspiration, information and enjoyment to our community.


Monterey County is a community where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential and pursue happiness.


Our collection includes a variety of formats including books, books in large print, books on tape, books on CDs, DVDs, videos, newspapers, magazines and electronic resources. We have books in Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean, and magazines and videos in Spanish and Vietnamese. All materials are selected in accordance with the Collection Development Policy.

Our Californiana collection, located at the Prunedale Branch, consists of books on the history of Monterey County and California. Historical photographs, pamphlets, papers and maps are located at the Library Administrative Office in Marina. The photographs have been digitally reproduced and copies can be purchased for a fee. The collection can be viewed by appointment only Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Appointments are made according to staff availability. Please call 831-883-7567 to make an appointment or view a sample of the images.

History and Organization

Monterey County Free Libraries was established by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on August 6, 1912 under the authority of the County Library Law of 1911. Services to the public began in 1913 following the hire of Miss Anne Hadden on September 2, 1913 as the first County Librarian of Monterey County.

Within six months, Anne Hadden opened five library branches, the first in Greenfield. Some early branch collections and reading rooms were in private residences, schools, stores, and in Big Sur at the Post Office.

The library system functions under the legislative direction of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the administrative direction of the County Administrative Officer. A County Librarian appointed by the County Administrative Officer heads the system. Monterey County Free Libraries functions legally as a less-than-countywide, dependant special district. The less-than-countywide designation comes from the fact that the service area does not include the city limits of the cities of Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Salinas; all of which operate their own municipal libraries.

Funding for the Monterey County Free Libraries comes primarily from a share of the property tax collected within its service area. This share is about one cent per dollar collected (as of 1996). Small amounts of additional funding come from the County General Fund, the State of California, from donations and from library fees and fines.

Additional or enhanced services are provided through funding from the Foundation for the Monterey County Free Libraries. These enhanced services include adult literacy tutoring, after school homework assistance, enhanced library book and material purchasing, technology services for public use and public access to internet, and youth services program support for library staff training and for direct public service.

Monterey County Free Libraries operates seventeen branch libraries, two bookmobiles, a library by mail program, deposit collections in local schools, and a number of special programs, including a literacy program which operates a literacy outreach vehicle focused on family literacy and kindergarten readiness. Free library services are provided to all residents of Monterey County.

For fiscal year 2012-2013 library materials circulation was 666,319 items and research (reference) questions of about 110,835. 148,273 persons are registered to borrow materials from the collection of 397,429 items.

Foundation and Friends of the Library Groups

Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries

The Foundation for Monterey County Free Libraries provides advocacy and financial support for all of our libraries. Call the Foundation at 831.424.3564 for more information and visit the Foundation's website.

The Foundation's Mission Statement

The Foundation believes in the power of libraries to enrich and change the lives of Monterey
County residents, each of whom deserves equal access to information that will open windows
to a larger world.

Friends of the Library Groups

Join others in your community in supporting your branch of the Monterey County Free Libraries. For information on the Friends of the Library organization in your area call your local branch.

The following branches have organized Friends groups. Please call the Branch Library for more information about a specific Friends Group.

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