The North Ontario Public Library and Reading Room was run and operated by 3 or 4 known people. The first “librarian” was Mrs. Williams in 1900. There is no further information about this woman. This is truly unfortunate because she was in charge of the room from its creation, and saw it through the first two moves. Also, she was responsible for the library when the city officially became Upland which had to be both an inspiring and frustrating time. Ms Hattie Holyland took over in 1904. Again, her name is all that remains of her time spent with the library. Her tenure was relatively short, lasting until 1906 when Francis McCormick took over. McCormick was the librarian when the city was incorporated. It must have been an interesting time to serve the public when such a defining moment was taking place.
The Carnegie Library, built in 1913, is really defined by the 32 year staffing of Adda Manker. However, Ann(a) Warren was actually the first librarian in the Carnegie. Records show that Ann was chosen from “applicants,” so it’s possible that Ann actually possessed an advanced degree or library training of some sort. Regardless, Ann was only at the Carnegie for one year. Adda Manker began her 32 years in 1914 and continued until 1945 (see link for more information). Ruth West took over from 1946 to 1950. Lucille MacDonald served from 1950 - 1957 and Dr. Hazel Pulling from 1957 – 1960.
Louise Franke grew up with the Carnegie Library. She can remember Adda Manker giving her picture books to read, and calling her mother to pick her up from the library. After graduating from Chaffey College and the Riverside Library School, Franke went to work at A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands for 4 years. She returned to Upland and was given the joint position of Children’s and Adult Librarian in 1950. She served in this capacity until 1960 when she was asked to be the new director of the library. Her tenure can be described as one of change. When the new library was built in 1969 Franke was in charge of the move from one building to the other. She was also at the helm when the library joined the Inland Library System.
Charles Kaufman has the distinct satisfaction of being the only male to ever run the Upland Public Library. He served as director from 1973 to 1974. He came to Upland from the Venice Branch of the Los Angeles Library System. The annual report for this year marks a work place rife with dissatisfaction, and employee fighting. It would seem that Kaufman was brought into Upland in order to turn things around for the library. Although circulation and registration statistics were good, the library staff was floundering.
Kathleen Bernath took over from Kaufman in 1974. Her tenure as Director lasted three years until 1977, but she had served in the library in a variety of capacities prior to her time as Director. She came to Upland with a library science degree from Columbia University in New York. She also worked at the Huntington Library as a cataloguer of rare books and Americana.
Linda Yao took the helm in 1977. She came to Upland from Torrance Public Library where she was the librarian in charge of technical services. She was a native from Pomona, and graduated from Garey High School in Pomona. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA and her Library Science degree from USC. Yao was in charge when the Carnegie Library was finally up for renovation. Although the library did not have any direct effect on the renovation process, I am sure that she and other library staff fielded many questions about the project. Perhaps most importantly, Yao was Director when Proposition 13 wiped out all funding for public libraries. This required her to re-think and re-tool the way in which a library was run and funded. She was also responsible for the creation of a Chinese Reading section in the library. Yao retired in 2003.
Kathy Bloomberg-Rissman is the current Director of the Upland Public Library. While she’s been Director Upland has received a beautiful Bookmobile that is staffed by the children’s department. The library has also opened a homework help center as well as an expanded literacy center in the remodeled Carnegie building. Also unique to Upland is the Paw Pals program in which therapy dogs are available to listen to children read; creating an easy rapport for new and uneasy young readers. In her time Upland has been inundated with budget cuts; Friday service has been cut completely and other hours of operation have been scaled back as well.