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Santa Clara County Librarian Melinda Cervantes Named 11th Senate District Woman Of The Year

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Santa Clara County Librarian Melinda Cervantes was selected this week 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 Woman of the Year awards on an annual basis to recognize outstanding women in their districts. Cervantes was chosen from among 876,000 constituents in the thirteen cities and towns from the three counties that encompass 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, County of Santa Clara 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 County of Santa Clara Supervisor Liz Kniss, Delegate for the Library District Joint Powers Authority. “This is a fitting honor for an exceptional woman.”

“We are happy for Melinda, but not surprised about this State recognition,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Mike Wasserman, Delegate of the County Library District Joint Powers Authority. “Thanks to Melinda’s leadership and hard work of very dedicated library staff, our libraries continue to be relevant and essential community resources.”

Cervantes said she is most gratified that members of the community 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 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.

About the Santa Clara County Library

Santa Clara County Library serves residents of Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills in the 11th Senate District, as well as Los Gatos, Gilroy, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County. It also includes two bookmobiles and an online library.

The system has a collection of 1.8 million items. In 2010, it reported 290,985 library card holders, 12,066,869 check outs and 3.6 million visitors.

The Santa Clara County Library mission is to be an open forum promoting knowledge, ideas, and cultural enrichment. The library provides free access to informational, educational, and recreational materials and services. In response to community needs, the library provides diverse resources on a wide variety of subjects and viewpoints and helps people use these resources. Visit Santa Clara County Library online at

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Melinda Cervantes/Derek Wolfgram, Santa Clara County Library (408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3002
Posted: March 28, 2011