Celebrating Arcade Library's 100th Birthday

Learn about Arcade Library's 100 year history
January 10, 2024

A black and white photo of a woman and child standing near the sign of the Sacramento County Library’s new 12,000-square-foot Arcade Branch at 2443 Marconi Avenue in September 1976.January 9, 2024 marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Arcade Library. The first location was located at 2727 Marconi Ave and opened to the public on January 9, 1924. Born in early 1924 in Del Paso Park’s Elk Park Grocery, the Arcade Library has been, and continues to be, an anchor institution to the educational and cultural life of the Arcade area of Sacramento County. Briefly closed as a result of the Great Depression, a public demand and need for library services brought the branch roaring back in 1940. After finding a home in a few different locations, including the Town and County Shopping Center, the branch planted itself firmly at its present 2443 Marconi Avenue location in 1976.

As we observe the centennial of the Arcade Library, we also pause to acknowledge the staff, volunteers, and community that have made it a mainstay of community growth and illumination. 

Library History

Due to an increase in p) A circa-1970 photograph shows the brick façade of the Sacramento County Library’s Arcade Branch, located at 2727 Marconi Ave., and in the Town and Country Shopping Center. The pictured location opened in 1964.ublic demand for library services in northern Sacramento County, the Arcade Branch Library was established in 1924. Located inside the Elk Park Grocery, opposite Del Paso Park, the library was established under the direction of Mrs. Anna Zentgraf. In the face of the Great Depression and dwindling tax receipts, a county grand jury recommended cutting the library budget by nearly 50 percent in 1933. Many county libraries sustained themselves during the Depression by borrowing books from the California State Library. By 1935, however, locations including Arcade, started to close throughout the county.

Arcade’s collection was then brought to the downtown quarters of the County Library and used in other locations. As the county’s economic health improved, a new Arcade Library opened on April 1, 1941, in the home of Mrs. May Day on Edison Avenue just west of Fulton Avenue. After Day’s resignation in February 1950, the library was moved to rented space at a place called Kitley Corners, located at the corner of Edison and Fulton avenues where it came under stewardship of Mrs. Ann Henry. The move resulted in a larger location and more open hours. In 1961, more space was added when an adjoining office unit was leased.

A black and white photo from 1976 shows the unusual style concept of the Sacramento County Library’s Arcade Library from the street.By 1964, the library was moved to Town and Country Village at 2727 Marconi Avenue with space expanded to 2,887-square-feet and a collection of 15,000 titles. Branch circulation increased annually despite crowded shelf conditions and limited space within the building. With expansion at the Town and Country Village site impossible, a search for a new site was started. With the consent of the County Board of Supervisors, a site west of the intersection of Fulton and Marconi avenues was purchased and planning for the new library building began in 1974. Under the direction of Library Director Harold Martelle, Arcade Library was one of the first libraries built almost exclusively with Federal funds.   The Arcade Library opened on September 27, 1976 at 2443 Marconi Avenue where it remains today. The partially subterranean design of the current Arcade library was suited to absorb sound from the frequent military flights coming out of both Mather and McClellan Air Force Bases.   

Today, the Arcade Library serves a diverse community and has expanded its offerings with special collections such as a seed library, Library of Things, and the Tom Sanderson Design Spot. You can also find materials in Arabic, Pashto, Persian, and Russian.