Can you believe it? It’s been over 100 years since the Seaside Public Library’s humble beginnings in 1913. What we know as the Seaside Library today started off as a modest reading room in the Dresser building on Holladay Avenue downtown. The space inside the Dresser Building was initially designed to be the first public restroom in Seaside. An agreeable development to all, the facility also provided a small reading area that evolved into a space where people could read, check out books, and peruse the newspapers. A matron was placed in charge of this area and became the unofficial librarian.
The scene pictured here was photographed inside the reading room in 1918 and shows the librarian, Clara Gilman (behind the desk), along with a handful of patrons and a well behaved little dog. It looks like a peaceful scene, despite the rather tight quarters. It wasn’t until 1935 that the Seaside Public Library was officially incorporated into the City of Seaside. The library was housed in a few different buildings over the years and in 2008 received a brand new building on east Broadway. Though extremely spacious and full of modern amenities like public computers, Wi-Fi, and a full events calendar, the library is still that same peaceful public space where folks gather.