Hayward Public Library History

The Library’s Deep Roots in Hayward

Hayward Public Library

Hayward created its first library in 1867 at the Good Templars Society. Back in those early days the town library, like the post office, was moved around to various buildings as room allowed.

In 1893, the library settled into a shared space in a carriage shop near B and First Streets. In 1897, Hayward established a permanent public library at that site, dedicated by an official Library Commission. It remained there for several years. But the burgeoning town soon outgrew these arrangements, and in 1903 the Ladies Improvement Club led a campaign for a permanent library building.

In 1905 wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie gave Hayward $10,000 to build a new library at the corner of B and First. The 1906 earthquake damaged the library during construction. Carnegie provided $1,000 more to pay for the repairs. The new library opened in 1906.

Most Carnegie libraries were classical in design, but Hayward’s was in the Spanish Colonial Revival style. With an intriguing asymmetrical stucco facade and prominent domed tower, it was quite a departure from other library buildings of the era. It served Hayward for the next forty years and through the end of World War II.

After World War II ended, Hayward’s population, like the population of so many other cities nationwide, boomed. Hayward’s growth was especially strong – starting in 1950 and lasting well into the 1980s, Hayward was among the fastest growing cities in California, an impressive period of sustained and extraordinarily rapid development.

In 1949, the Carnegie library was demolished to make room for the widening of Foothill Boulevard. The money from the sale of the Carnegie library’s land was used to construct a replacement library.

The replacement library was constructed in 1951 on Mission Boulevard in the historic Don Guillermo Castro plaza site. This is the old Main Library currently in use. 

The Main Library had to be expanded in 1959, only eight years after it was built.

By 2010 Hayward’s population had boomed to 150,000. Hayward has far outgrown its Main Library and the building was deteriorating. Concerned residents including the Friends of Hayward Library began a new campaign to build a library.

In June 2014, Hayward voters approved Measure C, a local sales tax that provided the funds for the new library construction among other important projects. The new library began construction in 2015 and will open in 2018. The project also includes the complete restoration of Hayward’s historic central plaza.

Powered by energy from the sun, the new library is designed to serve the people of Hayward for the next 100 years and beyond.

Want to learn more about the history of the Hayward Library? Find more historical photographs and documents, and read memories and fond farewells written by Hayward library members in 2018.