The first Library and reading room in Mountain View was opened to the public December 1, 1890. Money for the project was privately raised by local residents. On March 10, 1904, the Women's Club successfully petitioned the Town Board of Trustees for a Free Public Library and Reading Room; on April 14, 1905, the library opened above Rogers & Rogers general store with Mrs. Hessell as the Librarian. On June 7, 1905, the City of Mountain View took over the operation of the Library.
The 1906 Earthquake caused damage to the Rogers & Rogers building. The library relocated, first to a room in a house on Hope Street, then a small house on Castro Street, and later an upstairs room in the Swall building on Castro Street.
Miss Laurabelle "Dolly" Graham was appointed Town Librarian in 1907. She was born in Mountain View in 1856. Present day Graham Middle School was named after her father, Isaac Newton Graham. In her first month on the job, Dolly reported a total of 446 books checked out and a count of 558 visitors to the Library.
April 9th, 1910, the new City Hall opened housing the Library on the first floor next to the City Jail, separated by a thin partition. In one account, the children's librarian said she could hear prisoners being interrogated in certain parts of the library.
Miss Graham resigned as Town Librarian January 1, 1915 after eight years of faithful service and Miss Jessie Nichols succeeded her.
The City lost the opportunity to qualify for a Carnegie Library building in 1915 when officials declined to provide a site.
Mr. Arthur L. Palmer became Librarian in September 1919.
In 1926, the Library moved to the second floor of City Hall. Mr. Palmer reportedly had a limp and used crutches. Climbing stairs to the second floor of City Hall was a challenge. Don Lawson, a long-time Mountain View resident remembered Mr. Palmer would come into work at around 8 A.M. There was a bookdrop through the door to the Library. Mr. Palmer would open the door, pick up the newspaper and as many books as he could insert into the framework of his crutches and climb the stairs to the Library. The children, including Don, would carry up the newspaper and books; as a reward, Mr. Palmer would allow his helpers to be the first to read the funnies. He climbed the stairs for decades, retiring in May 1944.
Mrs. Edna Roth was then appointed Librarian.
Post war years Mountain View was growing. In 1952, the need for the expansion of City Hall offices made it necessary to find a new location for the Library. The Library moved to a converted store at 939 Dana Street. The collection totaled 17,000 volumes. In 1956 a $160,000 bond was passed for the first library building. This was an 8,400 square foot building with a capacity of 65,000 volumes. Mrs. Roth retired in May 1957.
Mrs. Edith Duke was appointed Librarian and assumed responsibility for completing the construction of the new Library, located at 585 Franklin Street. The new building was opened during the summer of 1958.
By 1962, a bond issue provided for construction of a 22,800 square foot, three story addition which enlarged the building to 31,000 square feet. The new addition opened in 1968.
The Library initiated Bookmobile services April 28, 1964.
Ruth Lawson was appointed City Librarian in 1973. In 1974 an attempt to pass bonds to expand and remodel the existing building failed along with all other bond measures on the ballot. Ruth retired in August 1981. She was succeeded by Ruth Stillwell. A new, integrated computer system was installed in 1983.
In April 1987 the Library purchased a replacement bookmobile.
Ruth Stillwell retired March 6, 1988. Susan Ozubko was appointed Library Services Director.
In 1989, a space planning program document was developed and a request for a new 77,000 square foot building was brought to City officials. The building program was reduced to 60,000 and after a site-selection process, the same site on Franklin Street was approved. In June 1994, funding was approved for the construction of the new building and a temporary relocation of Library operations. The Library moved to federally owned property at the corner of Moffett Boulevard and Middlefield Road in May 1996. The old building was demolished.
The new building opened October 25, 1997 with a collection of 230,000 items.
In 2001, Karen Burnett was selected to be the new Library Services Director.
In December 2009, Karen Burnett retired. In April 2010, Rosanne Macek was hired as the Library Services Director.