1360 Oak Avenue
The St. Helena Library was begun privately as a subscription library by the townspeople in 1875. Called the St. Helena Library Association and Free Reading Room, it occupied a number of sites, including the front room of the Oddfellows (I.O.O.F.) Building on Main Street.
In 1904, local citizens contacted library philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who eventually donated $7,500 to construct the library building. A local bond issue for the purchase of the land and an agreement to maintain the property matched Carnegie’s grant. The Carnegie Library building was built in 1908. The 2-story Mission Style building carries the characteristic curvilinear gables and semi-circular arched windows. The second story dormer windows also have a curvilinear gable. The stucco walls are plain; however, note the decorative tie-rods in front.
The Carnegie Building remained St. Helena’s library until 1979 when the new library facility on Library Lane was completed. Eventually, the Carnegie Building went through a much-needed earthquake retrofit.
The Dr. George J. and Elsie Wood Public Library on Library Lane was completed in 1979 and then enlarged in 1996. The Napa Valley Wine Library Collection has been housed there since 1961. The Silverado Museum showcases the works and memorabilia of Robert Louis Stevenson and is adjacent to the Public Library. The Library has also worked closely with the St. Helena Historical Society, since its founding in 2002, and the Society is housed upstairs in the Library building. The Library supports the Historical Society’s many efforts to preserve St. Helena’s history.