Explore SJ Libraries: Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock

How well do you know your local library? There is a total of 23 San Jose Libraries (Soon to be 24), but not all of us get a chance to explore each of them. While all branches have similar structures, programming and a dedication to customer service, they are all designed to cater to the communities they serve. For this blog, we will explore the Dr.Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library located in East San Jose’s Alum Rock community and see what it has to offer.

1. Location, Location, Location

The Dr.Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library is located on the corner of White Ave and Alum Rock Ave. It sits across the street from James Lick high school, and it is just a short car drive (or jog) away from Alum Rock Park. Alum Rock Park boasts a wide array of hiking trails as well as a park and educational center for children. There is a wide variety of food choices in the area, which range from common places such as Starbucks to historical food vendors such as San Jose’s famous Peter’s Bakery (Burnt Almond Cake anyone?), which is sure to catch any library goer’s eye.  Make sure you also check out the local Farmer’s market that happens every Sunday in the James Lick parking lot for some locally grown goodies.

Alum Rock Library, Teen room, Alum Rock Library entrance

2. Artwork- A Reflection of the Community

Each of the San Jose Public libraries has artwork that is representative of the community surrounding the library. At the Dr.Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library, the artwork displayed are Terrazzo Mandalas created by artists Jim Hirschfield and Sonya Ishii. The pieces represented the community’s agricultural history as well as its multicultural history. Each of the terrazzo mandalas is also accompanied by a skylight that echoes similar themes. More information on the artwork in the library

Also, banners created by 5th-grade students from Cureton Elementary school in East San Jose and students in Hawaii are on display in the Internet Café. These banners were created using textile designs reflecting on their local community. These street banners are also on display in the Alum Rock Village. More information on the banners

Mandalas at Alum Rock Library

Skylight art at Alum Rock Library

3. Staff- How May We Help You?

What would the library be without its wonderful staff! Need help finding a book, printing an email or scanning a document? Our staff is ready to help. From enthusiastic librarians to knowledgeable aides, the Dr. Roberto Cruz Library staff is dedicated to helping the Alum Rock community meet their informational needs. With over ten bilingual staff members, the Dr. Roberto Cruz Library offers help in Spanish and English.

Staff at Alum Rock Library

4. Programs For the Young and Young at Heart

What kind of programs does Dr. Roberto Cruz Library offer you may ask? In addition to regular storytimes, they also offer a bilingual storytime (English and Spanish) that encourages parents and children to learn a new language or strengthen a native language. Computer literacy is also a major part of programming, and it has allowed programs such as “I Am San Jose,” Basic computer classes and coding for children to take place.

What programs are coming to the Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library? Who better to ask than the librarians! Librarian Diana Learned has always loved libraries. As a little girl, she would frequent her local library and grew to love the library and all it has to offer. She hopes to bring that love of libraries to the Alum Rock community, and she hopes to do that by creating a wide variety of library programming. “I’d liked to add more programs for teens and adults that come to the library. We have patrons of all ages and all backgrounds…and I would like to engage everyone that visits.”- Diana Learned.

Diana Learned Librarian at Alum Rock Library, Laura Castillo Librarian at Alum Rock Library

Laura Castillo is also hoping to engage the community through the use of technology and more bilingual programming. Coming to San Jose all the way from the far away land of Arizona, Laura Castillo is excited to help bring programs such as “I am San Jose”, bilingual basic computer classes, and she hopes to engage the Spanish-speaking community to utilize our technology more. “The people that come to this branch are very appreciative, they’re very sweet, and it really makes every day working here rewarding”- Laura Castillo.

Librarians Diana Learned and Laura Castillo are working round the clock to help bring new programs, fun storytimes and improving old programs as well See our list of upcoming events

5. Family Learning Center

The Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library is one of seven libraries that have family learning centers. Family learning centers provide free programs and services such as parenting classes, ESL conversation clubs and basic life skills workshops. They have computers with software for ESL, typing and language acquisition as well as space for children to play with educational toys.In addition to programs, the family learning centers also provide books and materials for a wide range of topics such as citizenship, adult education and learning English.

Nick Hedrick is the FLC coordinator for the Dr.Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library. He has helped create programs such as Job/Resume workshops, ESL conversation clubs and literacy games for children. Nick Hedrick hopes to expand programs such as Family Literacy Nights, Back to School programs and literacy tutoring for Elementary school children.

FLC at Alum Rock Library, Nick Hedrick FLC coordinator at Alum Rock Library

Which Library Should We Explore Next?

What’s your favorite thing about your local library? Maybe it’s been awhile since you visited, so make sure you keep an eye out for future blogs featuring other great libraries in the San Jose Public Library system. Your local library may be next!

Special thanks to the Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Library and their wonderful staff.


i love, love, love this blog! it's great hearing about each of the branches and their staff. keep up the great work!

Great blog. It's really cool to learn more about the branches!

I heard this was one of the Carnegie libraries, but whenever I drive by, it looks more modern. Why is that? It would be cool to learn more about this branch.

Keep an eye out for this! I think people would love to learn about a library with such a rich history. Thanks for your suggestion!

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