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New Librarians for El Cerrito and Kensington

El Cerrito's head librarian since 2003, Laura Martinengo, has been named librarian of the Kensington Library, while a former Kensington head librarian, Liz Ruhland, is now El Cerrito's new librarian.

Laura Martinengo, the El Cerrito head librarian who served since January 2003 (or longer than two U.S. Presidential terms) has now become the regular manager of the Kensington Library.

And a former Kensington head librarian, Liz Ruhland, is now the manager of the El Cerrito Library.

"I am very excited to be working at the El Cerrito Library," Ruhland told Patch, "and am looking forward to serving this vibrant and diverse community, including close collaboration with the Friends (of the El Cerrito Library) and the New Library Community Campaign."

A grassroots effort is underway to build support for bigger, more modern El Cerrito Library, which was the first one built in Contra Costa County after World War II. The library was dedicated Feb. 27, 1949, and was expanded in 1960.

Martinengo had been serving as manager of both the El Cerrito and Kensington libraries on an interim basis this past year. Ruhland, who had been the regular manager at the Kensington Library 

"Liz and I were both doing interim assignments this past year," Martinengo told Patch, "and after several discussions we discovered that we each wanted to serve different community types.  

"This transition time was an opportunity for change that we hope will benefit our respective communities.  I have loved serving the El Cerrito community, and working with a wonderful staff and Friends group, and will miss it a lot, but am looking forward to new challenges and opportunities at Kensington."

They assumed their new posts last week, on Sept. 24.

The  first library in what is now the City of El Cerrito opened with 200 books in 1913, four years before the city was incorporated. 

Perhaps the best-known head librarian in El Cerrito in recent decades was Grace MacNeill, who served 20 years from 1974-94, and now serves as president of Friends of the Library.

We tried to get a list of all past El Cerrito librarians and still hope to do so some day. We know from the that the first librarinan of the El Cerrito Library built in 1949 was Faye Breneman.

Here is a list of El Cerrito's head librarians since 1970, for which we thank Shannon Ladage of the Contra Costa County Library system:

1970: Branch Librarian II Beth Chiles

1971 - 1974: Branch Librarian II Clinton Arndt

1974 – 1994: Senior Branch Librarian Grace MacNeill

1994 – 2001: Senior Branch Librarian Janet Hildebrand

4/2001 – 10/2001: Acting Senior Branch Librarian Linda Waldroup

11/2001 – 2003: Branch Librarian Laura Einstadter

1/2003 – 8/2003: Acting Branch Librarian Laura Martinengo

9/2003 - 9/2012: Community Library Manager Laura Martinengo

9/2012: Community Library Manager Liz Ruhland

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You can “Like" El Cerrito Patch on Facebook for another way to get local information and connect with other readers from El Cerrito and Kensington.

Linda Lipscomb October 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Congratulations to both! Here in Kensington we have known Liz for years as our Librarian, and Laura has been with us for some time now. Both are truly wonderful! - Linda Lipscomb, Kensington.
JW October 06, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Congratulations! I also know Liz from Kensington. Glad to you have you back in the area.

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