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April 19, 2011 > Special Life Events: County Librarian selected Woman of the Year

Special Life Events: County Librarian selected Woman of the Year

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Marina Hinestrosa

Santa Clara County Librarian Melinda Cervantes has been selected by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) as the 11th State Senate District's Woman of the Year.

Members of the California State Legislature present the annual Woman of the Year awards to recognize outstanding women in their districts. Cervantes was chosen from among 876,000 constituents in the 13 cities and towns from the three counties that make up the 11th State Senate District. Cervantes will be honored by Senator Simitian at an event in the district scheduled for May 21.

"Melinda certainly deserves this recognition for her leadership and service to Santa Clara County residents," said President Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. "Her vision of how libraries can help develop minds and provide a variety of resources is directly connected to her accomplishments. Libraries in five of our cities have been substantially expanded or remodeled during her tenure as Santa Clara County librarian and this is just one of her achievements."

Cervantes has been Executive Director and County Librarian of the Santa Clara County Library since 2002, where she has maintained and enhanced its national reputation. Every year, since 1999, Santa Clara County Library has been ranked first or in the top three nationally in the "Hennen's American Public Library Ratings," and is recognized by the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service as one of "America's Star Libraries."

"Melinda is truly an inspiring leader and visionary and has brought national recognition to our County's library system," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss, Delegate for the Library District Joint Powers Authority. "This is a fitting honor for an exceptional woman."

Cervantes said she is most gratified that community members have supported libraries by passing library-operating measures. The extent to which the library is embraced by the community is also evident in the seven Friends of the Library groups that supplement the library's budget and staff with fundraising and volunteering, seven Library Commissions, two Library Foundations and the eleven-member Library Joint Powers Authority Board.

"I am honored to receive this recognition from Senator Simitian, a champion for California public and school libraries," said Cervantes. "Also, I am extremely grateful for our staff and the extraordinary support we receive from our diverse communities to help our libraries grow, be stronger and continue to have a place in this ever-changing world of information access."

Melinda Cervantes currently serves as Chair of the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council and Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Reads Advisory Board. Cervantes has a 30-year library career that spans several San Francisco Bay Area counties and states. She is also active in many local, state and national library associations

For more information about Santa Clara County Library services, visit

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