The History of Kern Law Library
On December 14, 1891, the Kern County Law Library Association organized the Kern County Law Library under the County Law Library Act of that same year. The Law Library’s first quarters are recorded as “The Rooms of the Kern County Law Library Association”, location of which has not been established. Later the books were moved to the chambers of the Superior Court, then located in the court house.
Upon completion of the new courthouse in 1912, the Law Library was housed on the third floor, in space equivalent to a superior courtroom. The Law Library remained at this location until the earthquake of 1952 rendered the courthouse uninhabitable. After being without a home for five months, on January 8th of 1953 the library began moving into the temporary library building erected by the Board of Supervisors at 17th & K streets. Although only temporary quarters, the Law Library was housed here for over six years until June of 1959 when it moved into the new Administrative and Courts building, it’s present location.
The library Board of Trustees appointed the first librarian, Rachel Scates, in 1903, on a part-time basis at $15.00 a month. Naomi Tiller, Anna Price and Harriet E. Carlock successively filled the position until Miss Carlock’s resignation in 1920. At this time the Trustees temporarily placed the library in the care of Julia B. Babcock, the county librarian. In October of 1921 the position of librarian was filled in turn by Herbert V. Clayton, Alice Pray, Harriet B. Stovall, J.C. Reavis and H.A. Peairs. In 1931 the position of Librarian became full-time and was given to Dorothy Earl (Mrs. C.E. Arnold). She held the position from 1931 to 1936. When she stepped down in 1936 Peggy Cooke and James Vizzard filled in until the Trustees appointed Else E. Richards in June of 1937, who remained librarian for over 30 years, retiring in 1968. Eleanor Hauser, appointed in 1968, held the position of librarian un til her retirement. She was replaced by Mirian Smerker, who was librarian from 1975 to 1991. Upon her retirement Mary Gaede became librarian. She retired in 1995 and our current librarian Annette Heath was appointed.
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