In the late 1960s, the Tuesday Afternoon Club, or TAC, organized its third campaign to provide a library for Glendale.
Yes, the third campaign. In the early 1900s, the organization campaigned for the city's first library. A few years later, it initiated a second campaign, which led to the 1914 opening of the Carnegie Library on Harvard Street.
But, by the late 1960s, according to the club, the Carnegie building was woefully inadequate, lacking air conditioning, and most importantly, space for books.
Twelve club women were appointed to survey the need for a new library. Leading the charge was recently retired school teacher Myrtle Burbank Andersen, a 1923 graduate of the University of Washington.
Three years after she finished college, Andersen accepted a position as girls' physical-education teacher at Glendale High. She married Charles Andersen and raised two children, Barbara and Dave.
When she retired in 1962, she sought other ways to serve her community. She was a "consummate club woman," her son Dave wrote in a recent email. She was very active in local groups such as the Retired Teachers' Assn., the American Assn. of University Women, the TAC and the League of Women Voters. She served as president of all four groups at various times.
Plus, she chaired fundraising events for the local chapter of the American Red Cross.
Perhaps her most significant role was the part she played in getting a new library building constructed, he added.
The information about the TAC's campaign was gleaned from a glossy green binder full of documents, newspaper articles and facts and figures complied by Andersen in February 1968 when she submitted a report on the library renovation as a community improvement project sponsored by the Sears-Roebuck Foundation.
Later, she passed the binder on to her son, Dave. who, in turn, passed it on to me when he and his wife, Judie, relocated to Northern California a couple of years ago. Since then, he has followed up with several emails.
Back to August 1967, when Andersen and her committee walked through the more than 50-year-old Carnegie. They were accompanied by News-Press photographers and reporters and chief librarian Jack Ramsey.
Andersen pointed out the old building's shortcomings. "Books are stacked everywhere, on children's tables, on top of book shelves, in storage rooms, converted closets, the bookmobile center and the adult reading space," she wrote in her report.
She added that the bookshelves were so close together that it was impossible for an adult to bend over to get a book from the lower shelves.
Plus, the 1914 library lacked room for youth groups, and the city sorely needed a hobby room, a music listening room, a typing and copy-machine room and an art exhibit space to keep up with the times.
Not only that, she wrote, falling plaster, decaying wood and over crowded conditions were creating safety hazards and "there was standing room only during winter months for students and no evening space for adults and the stairs are difficult for senior citizens."
Presciently, her 1968 report noted that with apartment house dwelling becoming a way of life in Glendale, it was more important than ever to have a quiet reading room for adults, study facilities for students and a children's room.
This certainly wasn't the first attempt to persuade the city to act. According to Andersen's report, the community had been appealing for a new library for 20 years. But, due to "to an unsympathetic city administration and failure by the City Council to include a new library in long range planning,'' nothing had happened.
Now the time seemed to be right. There had been a change in city administration; plus, now they had a new mayor and several council members who supported their cause.
But, the new library wasn't a done deal. The women still had lots of work to do before any ground would be broken.
More at a later date.
Mary Baldwin emailed her thanks for crafting a "beautiful article." [Verdugo Views, April 7, 2018] "You brought so much joy to my 'Old Neighborhood.' I received so many lovely emails and phone calls and messages about it. My entire family thanks you!"
Dave Andersen emailed regarding his mother's maiden name: Burbank. One of her ancestors, Andrew S. Burbank, joined the Union Army late in the Civil War. He was 14 years old and served as a drummer boy when Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman marched to the sea, according to research done by Dave's wife, Judie. They have not yet discovered if Dave is related to the scientist Luther Burbank of agricultural fame and/or to the dentist who raised sheep on the land which later became the city of Burbank.