History: In 1985 cuts in the county budget were to result in four Calaveras library branches being closed: Mokelumne Hill, Railroad Flat, Sheep Ranch, and Murphys. The Murphys branch was closed from August through December that year. Our librarian, Jean Kirkpatrick, was steadfast in her belief that Murphys must have a library. Her passion, combined with that of several leaders in the community (including Mearl Lucken, Doris Barger, Ben Smith, and Russ Shoemaker) resulted in the creation of the Murphys Volunteer Library, Inc. and a board of directors dedicated to ensuring that Murphys would have a library.
Mission: To provide resources that enhance the library experience for patrons in the Murphys, CA area.
Open Tuesday through Saturday 11:00-4:00
Slideshow: Volunteers build a new home for Murphys Library.
The original volunteers: Jean Kirkpatrick, Ruby Tenbrink, and Barbara Cannon outside the Murphys Library on Main Street c. 1986.
Murphys Library is beautifully situated overlooking Murphys Community Park, across the way from the Veterans Memorial. Parking is readily available at the library, or the public lot next to the Black Bart Playhouse. Main Street is easily accessible by foot.
The library has served the town of Murphys in various locations since the 1960s. Over the years, the collection has been housed in a pharmacy, an art gallery, and a 20'x20' storefront on Main Street. The building which currently houses the Murphys Volunteer Library was completed in 2001 thanks to a huge outpouring of support from the community.
On January 2, 1986 the library reopened in a tiny location on Main Street, staffed solely by volunteers - the first all volunteer library in the state of California. Jean Kirkpatrick was joined by volunteers Ruby Tenbrink and Barbara Cannon to keep our library open. With Murphys Volunteer Library, Inc., the community rallied to raise funds to provide for operating costs and to build a new facility to house the collection (as the rented space on Main Street was badly in need of repairs: it has since been remodeled and is occupied today by Nelson's Candy Company).
Many in the community came together to build our library. Native Daughters of the Golden West made very generous donations in honor of Jean Kirkpatrick who passed away in 1992. The Murphys Community Club purchased land which it then donated to the county for the library site on Algiers - John Campbell (architect) and Al Tunsen (builder) were instrumental in that transaction. Pam Shoemaker also played a vital role in construction: newly elected as President of the Board, she was responsible for the hard work behind the scenes to raise funds, hire contractors, and recruit volunteers to get the job done!
In May of 1995 - 10 years after county budget cuts led to the creation of the Murphys Volunteer Library, Inc. - the library opened in its current location. In that decade, the library remained open wholly through the dedication of volunteers and community support. In 1998, Calaveras County hired a branch assistant for Murphys, and has continued its support of the library within the county system since then.
The spirit of community remains strong, and we welcome anyone interested in volunteering at Murphys Library.