Virginia S. Bennett Room - Center for 21st Century Skills and Learning

Dublin Library
Virginia S. Bennett Room
Center for the 21st Century Skills and Learning

In partnership with Alameda County Library, the City of Dublin constructed improvements in the Dublin Library to create a unique multi-function space.  The construction was completed in Fall 2016.  The renovated space has become a multipurpose learning center where the Library offers digital story time; gaming; coding classes; music and movement; arts programs; and classes for all ages.

The new space was named for

Virginia Smith Bennett

(1909-2000), Dublin Library’s first Children’s Librarian and Branch Manager. She started at Dublin Library in 1965; in 1967 she became the Branch Manager. “Mrs. B,” as she was known to her staff, worked for the Alameda County Library for 28 years, 14 of those in Dublin.  She graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in German and History.
Little Dublin Library  interior with Mrs. Bennett

Mrs. Bennett was an indefatigable champion of the Dublin Library.  She guided the growth of the Library from the 2,240- square-foot “Little Dublin” on Vomac Road to “Big Dublin,” a 6,200-square-foot leased storefront located on Village Parkway, to “Deluxe Dublin,” the first permanent facility built on Amador Valley Boulevard. Mrs. Bennett was instrumental in the passage of Measure N in 1974, which established a special taxing zone to finance the construction of the library on Amador Valley Boulevard, which opened in 1979.  In 1977, she was named Dublin’s Citizen of the Year, not only for her efforts at securing a permanent library building for Dublin, but for her commitment to Dublin local history and the publishing of Dublin Reflections.

While working for the library, Mrs. Bennett raised a family and still managed to find time to go to night school at San Jose State University, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Library Science. Her thesis chronicled the life and times of Dublin’s pioneering days and later was published as Dublin Reflections. For several years, she visited every third grade classroom in the district with her slideshow about Dublin history. She was one of the founding members of Dublin Historical Preservation Association, and was instrumental in helping save many of the historic properties now located at the Dublin Heritage Park. Mrs. B. retired on July 6, 1979. She continued to be active in the Dublin community long after she retired, marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and continuing to work on preserving local history.

Mrs. Bennett was a vital force in preserving and sharing Dublin’s history. Dublin Reflections still remains one of the main sources for local history. She continued her interest in local history by writing a newspaper column titled, “Dublin Reflections.” She worked tirelessly in her role as librarian, bringing outstanding library service while advocating for more adequate facilities to meet the needs of the community. When Mrs. Bennett started working in Dublin, the little library on Vomac Road housed 5,000 volumes. By the time she retired in 1979, the collection at “Deluxe Dublin” had grown to 50,000 books, periodicals, and audio-visual materials. Both as a librarian, and for her passion for local history, she was an inspiration to her staff and to the community.

Fast Facts
Size of Addition: 1,432 square feet
Total Library Space: Previously, the Dublin Library occupied 29,945 square feet; after completion of this project, total occupied space is now 31,409 square feet.
Technology: A video wall and sound system enables the library to offer virtual Town Halls, live streaming of current events, and multi-media programs, including movies, music, and virtual classrooms.
Furnishings: New furniture includes lightweight tables and chairs, easily reconfigured to accommodate different needs from small group learning to assembly style for special events.