Letter from Gertrude Welch
Mrs. Gertrude W. Selover
4530 Wharf Road Soquel, California
August 28, 1958
Dear Mrs Butz:
I am so sorry that your nice note was not answered sooner but the situation was out of control for me.
It seems that there should be a history of the Library and it’s a wonderful thing that you want to tackle the job. Before my marriage, and while I was still Gertrude Welch, my parents moved to Yorba Linda in 1910. I had been an assistant librarian in the East and it seemed terrible to me that the closest library was at Fullerton, and as most of the people were still using horse and buggies, it meant quite a trip. So I decided to open a library for the community. We used a small office room in the grammar school, shelves etc. were put in by donation and we started with 63 volumes from my own personal bookshelves. My sister, Mrs. Frederick B. Morlock then living in New York City, and later a resident of Yorba Linda, sent us a box of 25 books every month. The Woman’s Club members donated odd volumes and also held Teas whose proceeds were turned over to us for books. Much of this factual material could be found in the early Minutes of the Y. L. Woman’s Club if you can locate them. This is in 1911. I kept the Library open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons, 2 to 8 P.M.
To the best of my recollection it was in 1913 that we tried to get a Library District formed after many meetings with the Board of Supervisors and the District Attorney’s office. It required a petition from the residents of the proposed district which carried overwhelmingly. Then an election was held and the district formed and tax collected. Of course, as this is legal information it is a matter of record on the books of Orange County, where you can find the names of the first Board that served the district. I believe certain yearly reports were also filed with the County which might give you very interesting information as to numbers of borrowers etc. in those early days. Before I married I trained Miss Claire Amstutz to take my place when I married. The service I was a donation and the salary started when the District was established.
Mr. Selover will no doubt remember names of persona interested, most of which have escaped my memory in the press of the years.
In 1918 I was again Librarian for a short time, due to a vacancy and presume the records will show that detail. I am sorry that I have no photos available. There were some of the various buildings used at different periods and of the interiors. Some of the old-timers might have them, or the Yorba Linda paper may have them in the files.
Thank you for asking me to aid and I wish you all possible success in your compiling of a history.
I have not been in Yorba Linda in many many years and no doubt would be amazed at the changes.
With my very best wishes
Gertrude W. Selover
P.S. I forgot to mention that to the best of my belief the Yorba Linda Library District was the first one formed in Southern California. The law covering formation of such a district was on the books, but setting it up was such a new procedure that the District Attorney’s office was kept in a perpetual turmoil for a long period in a effort to accede to the demand. They could not find a precedent, so you can imagine it took much research on our part to get the Supervisors to make the final and necessary moves. I remember attending many of their meetings and tangling with members on various questions!