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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   
March 21, 2011

For More Information, Contact:

Phil Yost (650) 688-6384 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Melissa Figueroa (916) 651-4011 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


– State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) announced today his selection of Melinda Cervantes, Executive Director and County Librarian of the Santa Clara County Library, as the 11th State Senate District’s Woman of the Year.

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. Santa Clara County Library has been ranked first or in the top three nationally in the “Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings” every year since 1999 and is recognized by the Library Journal Index of Public Library Service as one of “America’s Star Libraries.”

“Libraries remain essential community resources,” said Simitian. “The information revolution has not made them obsolete. To the contrary, through the work of 21st century librarians such as Melinda Cervantes, they have become even more valuable to people of all walks of life.”

“It truly is an honor to be recognized by Senator Simitian, a champion for California public and school libraries,” said Cervantes. “I like to think that reading, viewing and listening to really good books strengthens our linear, literary mind and that public libraries have and will continue to have a place in this ever-changing world of information access.”

The 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. 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 groups, seven Library Commissions, two Library Foundations and the eleven-member Library Joint Powers Authority Board.  During her tenure, libraries in five cities have been substantially expanded or remodeled.

“Melinda has been an innovative and dynamic leader for the Santa Clara County Library,” said Jason Baker, Mayor of Campbell and member of the Santa Clara County Library Joint Powers Authority. “Her energy and creativity have expanded the breadth and accessibility of library services and ensured that we have libraries that are inviting and up to date.”

In her 30-year library career, Cervantes has been a Deputy County Librarian at the Contra Costa County Library; Director if the City of Tigard, Oregon, Public Library; Director of the Pinal County Library District in Arizona; and has held various positions in public, community college, university, special and school libraries in Arizona, Alaska, California, Ohio and Oregon. 

Cervantes is also active in many local, state and national library associations. Currently, she serves as Chair of the Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council and Co-Chair of the Silicon Valley Reads Advisory Board. 

With her husband, Doug, Cervantes says she enjoys big family gatherings, traveling and music, art and reading, both books in print and e-books. 

Cervantes will be honored by Simitian at an event in the district in May.

The Woman of the Year award is given annually by members of the California State Legislature to honor outstanding women in their districts. Simitian chose Cervantes from among his 876,000 constituents in the thirteen cities and towns from the three counties of the 11th State Senate district.



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