Library History

The Riverside County Free Library was founded in 1911 and quickly grew to ten branches spanning the distance from Thermal to Corona. The Library grew quickly along with Riverside County, adding locations regularly. By the late 1940s, new branches existed in Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City and Temecula and bookmobiles brought the Library to all parts of the County. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, libraries were added in Lake Elsinore, Perris, Norco, Indio, San Jacinto, and Coachella. Known today as the Riverside County Library System (RCLS) and comprising 35 libraries and 2 museums, RCLS provides quality library services throughout Riverside County. Library Connect Mobile Resource Vans bring library services and educational programs to the underserved regions of Riverside County.

The Anza Library began in a retired book mobile permanently located in the local community park. When the high school was built, the Hemet Unified School District and LSSI came together to establish the first LSSI joint-use library, which opened on September 7, 1999.

The library offers a variety of programs designed to appeal to both the community and its students, including preschool story time, a teens’ reading circle, a monthly book club, and more. As a joint-use facility, Anza Library features unique opportunities for students that showcase the importance of the library and its many services. While Anza operates on a schedule based on school hours during the fall season, the summer schedule allows the library to stay open longer and serve the community during the Summer Reading Program.

A 7,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, the Cabazon Library opened its doors to the Cabazon community on February 13, 2013. Previously, in June 2011, the Riverside Board of Supervisors announced taking over the Cabazon region from the Banning Library District, which made Cabazon Library officially a part of the Riverside County Library System.

This library is part of the Cabazon Civic Center, which includes childcare and counseling areas, water district administration offices, and the expansion of existing park facilities, all providing recreational and learning opportunities to the Cabazon community. The library boasts a spacious, multi-purpose room for library programs and community events, a children's corner, a teen area, an adult reading area, as well as RFID technologies and public internet computers.

Founded in 2002, the Calimesa Library grew from a humble book collection in a room at the Norton Younglove Senior Center to the facility it is today. Funding from the community and the City of Calimesa provided the land and its current modular building of 2,520 square feet. Plans to expand the building are continuing to progress, resulting in a larger library that will service approximately 15,000 residents from Calimesa and the surrounding area of Yucaipa, Redlands, and Beaumont.

Today, the Calimesa collection is approximately 9,500 volumes with a circulation of 29,000 items per year. This library aims to uphold its mission statement to connect the community with materials, technology, and services that promote lifelong learning and cultural enrichment.

Calimesa collection is approximately 9,500 volumes with a circulation of 29,000 items per year.

Our mission statement is:
The mission of the Calimesa Library is to connect the community with materials, technology, and services that promote lifelong learning and cultural enrichment.

A 750-square-foot facility that opened in 1980, the Canyon Lake Library is truly a community library. Initially started by the Canyon Lake Women's Club, the library was a completely volunteer-run enterprise, with all materials donated; even the bookshelves, chairs, and card tables were acquired through the donation of trading stamps (Blue Chip and S&H). In 1982, the library joined the Riverside County Library System, and shortly after, in 1985, the library officially expanded and became a branch in the system.

In 2000, the library moved inside the City of Canyon Lake City Hall Building, where the space was leased for 21 years. Nine years later in this same location, the library completed an expansion of an extra 840 square feet, bringing the library to 2,725 square feet total, including its own children’s room.

The Canyon Lake Library wasn’t quite ready to put down roots, as it relocated from inside City Hall to a new location within the same shopping center. The grand opening was held on Saturday, August 21, 2021. This new space comprises of 3,394 square feet with more than 13,000 materials. Other library features include a community meeting room available to reserve, a braille section for sight-impaired youth, and public computers for all to enjoy.

Opened in 1938 as a community library located in the new City Hall, Cathedral City Library quickly became an authorized branch site just one year later. In 1942, Harvey and Edna Peterson donated a lot adjacent to Town Hall for public library use. Then, a former army hospital barracks was purchased by a Chamber of Commerce bond issue and this building would serve as the community’s library for the next 39 years.

On June 3, 1981, Cathedral City Library embraced a new 3,700-square-foot branch site dedicated on Hwy 111. This site was made possible thanks to funding from a HUD Community Development Grant and the County General Fund.

Dedicated in January 1996, the current library was constructed with funds provided by the Cathedral City Redevelopment Agency and the California State Library under authority of the California Library Construction and Renovation Bond Issue. This 20,000-square-foot library served as the City’s library facility until February 2008, when a devastating fire halted all library services. In June 2009, the renovated library reopened with state-of-the-art furnishings, new materials and display areas, additional public computer stations, and RFID self-check technology.

In 1957, the original Coachella Library opened in City Hall. Many years later, in 1981, the library moved to 7th Street in the old 1st Presbyterian Church where it served the public until 2018.

That year, the library had a newer building with more amenities constructed at 1500 6th Street in Downtown Coachella. This 8,820-square-foot building showcases a large library collection for the community, including a growing Spanish collection with items from the Cesar Chavez National Monument Museum. The Coachella Library also features the "Harvest Mural" donated by Billy Steinburg.

In 1956, the Desert Hot Springs Library was dedicated a new building with much of the building’s labor donated by local residents. After nearly two decades, in 1972, the library moved to a 3,527-square-foot building that was run jointly with the City of Desert Hot Springs on West Drive. In May of 2021, this location closed to the public to get ready for its next move.

The new Desert Hot Springs Library opened in June 2021. Located at 14380 Palm Drive, the library is a 15,500-square-foot, single-story building with two study rooms, a community meeting room, opportunity rooms, furniture with plug-in technology, a teen library space, a children’s library space, a story time room, and a Friends of the Library bookstore. Other library features include two self-check stations, 11 adult computers, and 4 children's computers for patron usage. The collection has roughly 31,000 items for all ages. As Desert Hot Springs continues to grow and embrace diversity, the library is here to support the community through resource access and programming.

Eastvale's first public library opened on January 16, 2007, with an official grand opening on September 22, 2007. Located on the campus of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School, the Eastvale Public Library is a joint-use facility that is open to the public after school hours on weekdays and on Saturdays. The library features unique programming that caters to all ages, such as family story time, movie showings, foreign language classes, and reading programs.

The Edward-Dean Museum was created by Edward Eberle and Dean Stout. It derives its name from these original owners and donors. The beautiful structures were built in 1957 and opened its doors in 1958. The museum features late 16th to early 19th century European & Asian Decorative Arts. Dean Stout designed the interior spaces of the museum to create a homelike atmosphere with the intent to share with the visitor a firsthand experience of the ambiance of the time period. The museum and its 16-acre campus originally came under the County of Riverside in 1964. The Riverside County Economic Development Agency oversees the day to day operations of the Edward-Dean Museum.

The Edward-Dean Museum provides free educational tours to over 400 students from schools all over the Inland Empire. The Museum is also active in the community with a variety of volunteers and interns that participate in helping host special events, as well as maintain the grounds and help set up and present each new gallery exhibit. An additional program of providing active stewardship allows the conservation of museum paintings.

The "Friends of the Museum" is a non-profit entity that supports the museums educational programming, which allows schools the opportunity to have free field trips to the Edward-Dean Museum.

Opening on October 27, 2004, the El Cerrito Public Library is located at the El Cerrito Middle School as the first joint-use library between the Corona-Norco school district and the Riverside County Library System. The school district built the 10,000-square-foot building and the county contributes monthly for its custodial services and library utilities.

The library is open for only students during school hours. Other patrons may access the library after school and may only check out items owned by the county. The El Cerrito Public Library features a children’s reading room and a community room, as well as a current calendar of exciting events at the library.

Officially opened on Saturday, July 31, 2021, the new French Valley Library showcases a modern design with a 25,000-square-foot, single-story facility to meet the community’s growing needs. Nestled between Winchester, Murrieta, and Temecula, the new library includes space for a large collection of books and media materials, dedicated zones for teens and young children, a 125-seat, multi-user community room, and group study rooms for pop-up exhibits and other programs and events. In addition to the library, the property offers a peaceful outdoor reading and study area.

The Glen Avon Regional Library, located in Jurupa Valley, opened its current location in 1995. The 20,000-square-foot building has a spacious community room, a story room, and three service desks to accommodate a family-oriented community. The branch is the local repository for the Stringfellow Acid Pits documentation, an environmental water contamination incident that occurred in the area.

The library offers a variety of programming to meet the needs of its diverse community. Some successful grant funded programs and collaborations include its participation in the Making a Difference/Community Dialogue grant program, funded by the California Council for the Humanities, and an ongoing successful partnership with Jurupa Unified School District. The Friends of the Library group supports the ongoing programs, such as author events and an annual book festival that features local authors.

The library celebrated its renovation with a re-opening on August 5, 2021. Renovated features include new furniture, public computers, study spaces, a teen library space, an interactive children’s library space, and centers that assist community members in career development, pursuing citizenship, and the study of English as a second language.

In 1893, the Highgrove Literary Society attempted to organize a library for the area, then known as “East Riverside.” In 1907, a building was completed on Center Street to house the W.W. Ayers general merchandise store, the Highgrove Post Office, and a reading room with a small rotating book collection provided by the State Library. This humble collection was maintained between 1914 to 1941 by the County Library until the space was taken over by the Post Office. During the 1940s, a private home operated a “junior library” over the summer months until in 1950, when a county library branch was finally established in the Community Hall and sponsored by the local PTA. Nine years later, the Highgrove Library moved to a separate rented building at 978 Center Street.

On February 7, 1966, the Highgrove Library relocated to a new larger leased area at 931 Center street in the Ayers building. Twelve years later, during the Summer of 1978, the Highgrove Library was threatened with closure and a community Library Association was founded to lobby against the closing of the library, as well as organized a Friends group to keep the library open. The Friends group raised enough money to pay the rent and utility bills and volunteers ran the library for about a month until it could officially reopen with paid staff. Due to these efforts, the library survived the crisis.

The Friends applied for a $197,000 HUD community development grant to build a permanent library to replace the old rented quarters that had housed the library since 1966. On January 28, 1981, a new Highgrove Library building was dedicated on the grounds of the Highgrove Elementary school at the corner of Center Street and Garfield Avenue. The circular “porta-structure” is claimed to be the first pre-engineered, modular library building in the nation. The Highgrove Library building featured 1,600 square feet of floor space and seven revolving carousel shelves, which greatly reduced the need for shelving space. During the year 2000, the library received new shelving, new carpet, new furniture, new windows, new work stations for all six public computers, and a fresh coat of blue and white paint inside and out.

In 2011, the Highgrove Library moved once more into a state-of-the-art building funded by the County of Riverside Redevelopment Agency. Riverside County unveiled the new library on Saturday March 19, 2011, with a grand opening of the 7,500-square-foot, LEEDS certified, environmentally efficient building. Highgrove Library is a leader in Environmental Efficiency and Design, showcasing water-wise landscaping and plenty of natural lighting to further decrease energy cost. The library also has a community room, two study rooms, a children and young adults’ area, and 10 public computers.

With rolling hills directly behind the building, the Home Gardens Library sits amid a picturesque landscape. Inside the library, large windows show off cascading sunlight that breathes life into the building, creating a warm environment for patrons and community members. Alongside its scenic design, the Home Gardens Library features excellent accessibility for patrons. Directly adjacent to the library is a bus stop for both the RTA and the Corona Cruiser. A signal light recently placed at the intersection of Neece Street and Magnolia Avenue helps to improve traffic flow and safety for patrons when crossing Magnolia Avenue.

The Home Gardens Library values trust, respect, honesty, integrity, and teamwork. The library staff strives to create a welcoming environment that fosters creativity, success, growth, and excellence. Recognizing the diversity within the community as well as the social, economic, racial, and cultural complexities of patrons, the library encourages empathy, patience, humility, and sincerity in every interaction and provides an unbiased team that respects the community and works together to create a safe space for all.

As long as anyone in the community can remember, there has always been a library on “the Hill.” The first Idyllwild Library opened in the Idyllwild Inn in 1920 and the first consignment of books was received from Riverside County Library that July. From a cabin to shared space with an art gallery to a storefront, the library has grown and moved and evolved as the community does.

Today, after several moves, a fire in 1945, a flood in 1978, building additions, remodels, and expansions, the library has recently relocated to the Strawberry Creek Plaza on Village Center Drive. A contemporary, bright, airy, 6,400-square-foot facility, the library offers a community room, a study room, inviting Children and Teen areas, and a reading lounge with a fireplace. The staff continues the long tradition of friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable service to the local community, offering free wireless internet to its patrons, as well as an up-to-date collection appealing to residents and vacationers alike.

First established in 1914, the Indio Library originated as “book stations” in the homes of various community members and in the Post Office on Fargo Street. In 1928, the Indio Woman’s Club rented a building for a county library branch in Indio. Over the years, the library was remodeled and expanded and grew in popularity within the community.

In 1976, the current 23,000-square-foot building was dedicated as the Max T. McCandless Memorial Library in the Indio Civic Center. In 2017, the Indio Library received a refresh inside the building, offering more open space for studying and reading.

The Indio Public Library houses more than 41,000 items. As the desert’s resource for microfilm access, library patrons can enjoy browsing local newspapers as far back as the 1890s. The library is also home to the office of the Family Literacy Coordinator, the office of the East Mobile Resource Van, and a Friend’s of the Library bookstore.

Library service to the La Quinta community began in March 1976 with a bookmobile stop each morning in the community’s “Village” (now known as “Old Town”). Parked next to the Village’s playground area, the bookmobile manager would spread a large quilt on the lawn for children to sit and listen to an open-air, preschool story time.

In 1986, funding was approved by Riverside County and the City of La Quinta for a library. In the summer of 1988, the La Quinta Branch Library opened in the newly constructed 2,000-square-foot commercial building directly across from the former La Quinta City Hall. The library was open only 20 hours a week and had a collection of 8,900 items.

By the late 1990s, La Quinta was one of the fastest growing cities in California. The City Council strongly suggested to the county that a bigger library was needed to serve the increasing population. The library’s building had been purchased by a civic-minded developer, and since two suites remained empty, it was decided to renovate the ground floor into a bigger library. All the items were placed in two storage containers in the parking lot while the floor was expanded to 4,130 square feet. This new library reopened in 1999 with 40 hours of service and a collection of 28,000 items. Eventually, a 20,000-square-foot “stand-alone” library would be built on the City’s new Civic Center Campus.

Opening in 2005, the present-day building offered a library that only occupied the space currently known as the children’s area. By 2008, the library expanded to include the adult area, a story time room, and a teen room. The current collection is over 71,000 items, and includes books, DVDs, audio and MP3 books, CDs, and newspapers and magazines. Open seven days a week for 56 hours, the facility offers free wireless internet, public computers, and programs such as preschool story time, children, teen, and adult programs, and other informative presentations by community partners. The library has become a viable community collaborator, continuing to grow, expand, and share its programs and resources with local La Quinta businesses, City-run entities, and the surrounding communities.

The La Quinta Museum was built in 2008 to exhibit objects and photos from the archives of the La Quinta Historical Society. The history and cultural arts of La Quinta are displayed in the newly expanded Local History galleries upstairs, and featured exhibits that change quarterly in the downstairs gallery. The mural room exhibits a 32-foot-long mural of La Quinta highlights painted by Andre Blanche as part of the City’s Art in Public Spaces program.

In 1906, Mr. Charles Sumner Merrifield had a vision for a library in Lake Elsinore. A prominent member of the community, Mr. Merrifield bought a set of Charles Dickens books, which his daughter, Altha, soon began lending out to the community from their hardware store on Main Street.

Just two years later, on September 25, 1908, a library was opened and has been in service ever since. The first librarian in Lake Elsinore, Altha Merrifield continued to work in that capacity until her retirement in 1968. The library has been at its current location since 1998.

Located in Desert Center, Lake Tamarisk Branch Library is the eastern most library in the Riverside Library System, serving a small community of 150 full-time residents with the addition of approximately 300 winter visitors. The library began as a box of books in the Desert Center Café, but after the Kaiser mine opened, this box of books expanded into a small library. In 1970, the present Riverside County building that is used jointly by the fire department and the Lake Tamarisk Library was constructed.

Upon the closing of Kaiser mine in the early 1980s, which led to the departure of most of the area’s residents, a plan to close the Lake Tamarisk Library developed. This plan was thwarted when the Friends of the Lake Tamarisk Library started a letter writing campaign to prevent the potential sad end to the treasured community asset. Because this library is the only amenity available in Lake Tamarisk’s remote community of 150 residents, it is a treasured resource to all.

The Lakeside Vick Knight Community Library opened in the fall of 2005 on the Lakeside High School campus in Lake Elsinore, California. The 10,000-square-foot facility features one conference room and a small story room, which originally housed story time activities when the participation was not as high as it is now. Today, there are fourteen public computers and Wi-Fi available for patrons. The library also provides outreach services to the local elementary school year-round, and a Summer Reading Program for children annually.

The first County Library in Rubidoux opened on November 28, 1948, in a rented storefront. Over the next 22 years, the library twice relocated into successively larger spaces. Then, in 1972, a new building opened at 5763 Tilton Avenue. This building housed a 5,000-square-foot library and a 5,000-square-foot courthouse. About this time, the library was renamed to honor Louis Robidoux, a Frenchman who had large land holdings in the area in the 1800s and was one of the first County supervisors. This is how the library received the spelling of its name, “Robidoux,” with an “o,” as the building is dedicated to a person, rather than named after the community. In 1995, the court moved out of the building and the library gradually repurposed the space, creating a meeting/programming room and a computer lab.

In 2001, plans for a new library building were drawn up and the 20,000-square-foot building finally opened on April 17, 2010. The library has enough space for about 70,000 items, and includes a dedicated story time room, 42 public access computers, and Wi-Fi access. In the same complex is the County Library’s Literacy Department and the administrative offices for the Riverside County Library System. In its 64 years of service, the Louis Robidoux Library has had five locations and five librarians. As the new city of Jurupa Valley grows in strength and vitality, the library remains dedicated to consistent provision of educational, recreational, and informational services for its community.

Located near Cajalco Road, west of the 215 freeway and north of Perris, the Mead Valley Library is a beautiful, new 24,000-square-foot facility serving the diverse area of Mead Valley. Dedicated by Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster on October 27, 2012, the library’s opening ceremony was attended by more than 2,300 people.

The Mead Valley Library features large meeting rooms, a spacious youth section, a story room, a young adult room complete with diner booths, and more than 40 computers for the public.

Located in Riverside County in the Southeastern part of the Coachella Valley, Mecca is a small agricultural community in California, best known for its stunning landscape of hills and canyons. Originally known as the community of “Walters,” the town was renamed in 1903 to “Mecca” because of the area’s similarity to that of Mecca in Arabia, including its desert topography, intense heat, and little rain.

In 1967, the Mecca/North Shore Library opened as an “official” county branch. In June of 1990, the library was moved to a building on Coahuila Street, constructed on the grounds of the Mecca Elementary school, which housed both the public and school libraries, each operating independently.

The current Mecca Community Library building held its grand opening on February 9, 2008, and is located on 66th Avenue. Today, the library is open 40 hours a week and provides the community with a place to study, conduct research, and have access to the internet and 12 public computers. The library’s collection reflects the needs of the community, offering plenty of Spanish-language adult and juvenile fiction titles, as well as non-fiction for both adults and children. Local History of Mecca, North Shore, and Salton Sea are also highlighted in the collection. Library programs include bilingual story times, arts and crafts for kids, and various interests-related programs for both adults and teens.

The library also has a community room with a 49-person capacity that is available for organizations and other groups of people to rent out for meetings, social events, or activities.

Officially opened on Saturday, July 17, 2021, the Menifee Library sits in the heart of Southwest County in a vibrant, young city located along Interstate 215. This facility is a modern, 20,000-square-foot, single-story library with an array of amenities to meet the needs of the community. These amenities include study rooms, a community meeting room, an opportunity room, furniture with plug-in technology, public computers, a teen library space, a children’s library space, and a children’s story room. The library includes over 35,000 materials in the collection.

The Norco Library has been serving the residents of the Norco area since July 1930. Located in the heart of a small, animal-keeping community affectionally known as “Horsetown USA,” the library originated in the old Norco Department Store with about 500 books borrowed from the Riverside County Library. Later, the library moved to the original Norco Elementary School, then to a storefront building, then to the former City Hall building. After yet another move in March 2017, the Norco Library settled to its current location on the first floor of the building located at 3240 Hamner Avenue, Suite 101B. The library boasts a growing collection of books, movies, programs, events, and services for Norco’s ever-growing and diverse community.

The rural communities of Nuevo and Lakeview have enjoyed local library service for more than 90 years. During the 1920s, a modest library collection was held in the John Harmon house at the corner of Lakeview and 9th. By the 1930s, books were circulated from a small room in the Nuevo Grade School on Merrell Avenue. Later, the library became a cooperative effort between the Nuview School District and the Nuevo Women’s Club, until in 1948, when the Lakeview School was sold to the Nuevo-Lakeview Grange, which then hosted the collection for more than 20 years. After that, the books were loaned out of the Lakeview Baptist Church on Hansen Avenue.

When the Friends of the Nuview Public Library was founded during a budget crisis in 1978, the library was kept open just a few hours a week. In January of 1979, a small library with 4,800 items was dedicated in a converted house near the Nuevo Shopping Center on Nuevo Road. In 1995, the library moved to its current site, which comprises of land donated by local farmers and library benefactors, Fred and Arlene Mauel.

Today, Nuview Library is located at the corner of Lakeview Avenue and 10th Street. The facility houses over 10,000 items and offers six public access computers, along with free Wi-Fi. Weekly programs for adults and children are offered year-round, including story time, the Summer Reading Program, and craft hours.

The Palm Desert Library opened its doors in 1962 on Portola Avenue, where it remained for 33 years. Then, in 1995, a new building was planned, financed, and constructed by a partnership between the City of Palm Desert, the County of Riverside, and the College of the Desert. A year later, on April 19, 1996, the newly built 43,000-square foot, state-of-the-art, multi-agency facility on the College of the Desert campus opened at 73300 Fred Waring Drive.

While Palm Desert Library currently occupies the southern half of the building and the lobby, the College of the Desert Library occupied the northern half until January 2020.

The Palm Desert Library was enhanced in January 2013, with an increase in the number of public computers to 42, as well as Wi-Fi access and outdoor access to an automated book return machine. Self-checks were installed in the marketplace that showcase the latest titles of books, CDs, and DVDs. With an improved floor plan and a Reference Desk at the center of the facility, the expanded meeting areas give patrons easy access around the library and allow for more quiet places to study.

Built in Perris in 1882, the first library in Riverside County was located in Henry Akin's general store on D Street. When the Riverside County Library System was formed in 1911, the first collection was sent to Perris, and shortly after, in 1916, a new building was built on 4th Street. The library moved again several times through the years, from the old library to City Hall, then to a former Post Office building at 424 D Street, and finally to its current 20,000-square-foot building on San Jacinto in 1994. As a vigorous, dynamic center of the community, the library and its staff work hard to build firm connections to city residents and to deliver exciting, innovative programs and services.

In 1890, while Edward Hyatt was revolutionizing the face of education, with San Jacinto as one of his crowning achievements, Mrs. Mary Fowler organized the area’s first library association, charging an annual fee of $1.20 for membership. Over the next 75 years, the library moved several times; it began in the old water district building on Ramona and Main in 1908, then moved to the Chamber Building on Jordan Street in 1930, and in 1965, relocated to a building on central Main Street. Two years later, in 1967, the San Jacinto Library joined forces with the Riverside County Library System. In 1991, once again, the library moved and made the Bank of Hemet building its home, before settling into the joint-use facility located on the San Jacinto High School campus in 2000.

In 2016, Riverside County 3rd District Supervisor, Chuck Washington, the City of San Jacinto, and Riverside County Library services came to an agreement on a new site for the library. A 4,000-square-foot, city-owned parcel next to San Jacinto City Hall serves as a temporary home for the public library until the new site is completed. The relocation will provide much needed additional space for the library’s programming, while continuing to offer amenities to the public such as free Wi-Fi, computer use, and a comprehensive collection.

Riverside County Library Services strives to create a welcoming environment for patrons of all ages at the San Jacinto Library by offering diverse programming, knowledgeable and helpful staff, and a host of available services.

Sun City Library originated with a weekly bookmobile visit almost as soon as the first residents moved into the new Del Webb Seniors community in 1962. By 1965, the county leased a storefront of 1,100 square feet for the first library. Three expansions brought the space to 4,000 square feet by 1990, but this space proved inadequate as the population increased in the surrounding Menifee area. Because of this increase in community, the county purchased a bank building, the Sun City Library Foundation raised $150,000 to furnish it, and a new library opened in December, 1994.

The present library of nearly 11,000 square feet was built on the site and dedicated in 2010. This principal library serves the now incorporated city of Menifee's 80,000 residents and offers free wireless internet to all its patrons.

Since 1972, the Grace Mellman Community Library has been an integral part of the Temecula community narrative. The library’s doors first opened in the Rancho California Plaza on August 9, 1972. At that time, the library was known as the Temecula Branch of the Riverside County Free Library. Twenty years later, a new 15,000-square-foot facility opened at 41000 County Center Drive on May 3, 1992. The library experienced rapid growth in its $3 million facility that was partially funded by the fundraising efforts of local citizens. To this day, the library continues to serve the public at this location.

In 2006, the City of Temecula opened the Temecula Public Library on Pauba Road, and with the opening of the new structure, the current library’s name was changed to the Grace Mellman Community Library, named after Grace Mellman—the woman behind the original fundraising effort and former president of the Friends of the Temecula Libraries.

Remodeled in 2010, the twenty-first century library provides more than a place to check out a favorite book. Interactive check-out stations, two public computer labs, comfortable and functional furnishings, and two study rooms are some of the enhancements that supplement the collection. The building features a rotating art exhibit and a large community room that is available to the public for outside programs. Both the Adult and Youth Services departments offer several interesting programs each month, while the Youth Services department hosts multiple weekly story times for the youngest in the community.

Temecula's first library opened in 1972, which was 17 years before the city incorporated. The since-demolished facility was replaced by what is now known as the Grace Mellman Community Library in 1992. Because of the rapid growth of the Temecula community, demand soon overwhelmed the Grace Mellman Library, and Temecula officials were able to secure an $8.6 million state grant to jump-start the construction of a new library—what would become the Ronald H. Roberts Temecula Public Library. The State of California matched the $8.6 million, Riverside County Library System contributed $1,000,000, and the Friends of the Temecula Library contributed $250,000.

The Temecula Public Library was named after Ronald H. Roberts, a longtime Temecula leader whose vision, leadership, and perseverance ultimately led to building what remains as the busiest library in the Riverside County Library System. The 34,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, situated along a narrow site atop a hillside, was designed with plenty of windows to create an interior filled with natural light. In the evening, the illuminated windows serve as a metaphor for the "light of knowledge," an emblem as a community lantern upon the hillside.

This beautifully designed facility is equipped with 64 public computers, self-checkout stations, and RFID security. Special amenities include the Technology Homework Center with 24 computer workstations, the Grace Mellman Heritage Room that accommodates 12 people for small meetings, a large gas-burning fireplace and lounge chairs, the Community Room that can either accommodate 200 people seated in lecture-style or be divided into two separate rooms to accommodate up to 100 people each, and five study rooms for small group projects.

Library service in Thousand Palms started as two bookmobile stops at the Post Office and the Tri Palms Mobile Home Park. In February 1994, a Volunteer Library Station was dedicated in the community room of the Chamber of Commerce Building, a shared space that also served senior lunches. Offering just three afternoons of service, the library station was run by volunteers, and other branch libraries donated the books, many of which were older and worn copies.

Dedicated in September 2006, the current 5,484-square-foot facility was built by Riverside County Economic Development Agency. Located adjacent to the Community Center, the library serves as a centralized hub for residents, as well as visitors. Fundraising by dedicated Building Fund Volunteers provided additional revenue for wireless internet and several upgrades in library furnishings. Named after Art Samson, the tireless leader of the Building Fund and Friends group, this community library prides itself in offering quality materials and programs for all ages.

Located between the eastern city limits of Hemet and the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains, the Valle Vista Library has seen many changes since its original inception at the old Valle Vista School in 1931. The library’s first collection consisted of a room of donated books, until the county decided to honor a request by the community to send a collection of children’s books and novels to the library for two months at a time.

Several years and locations later, the Valle Vista Library continues to serve the needs of the community. The current 5,000-square-foot library, which was dedicated in 2001, offers a wide variety of services, including books, a meeting room, public computers, and creative programming to encourage a lifetime of ideas and learning in a welcoming environment.

The arts-and crafts-style Wildomar Library opened on July 28, 2001. Formerly known as the Mission Trail Library, this facility held a dedication ceremony presided over by County Supervisor Bob Buster. The library is a 5,500-square-foot facility that features a spacious community room for events, public computers, a continuously updated collection, and a dynamic 40-foot ceiling at the Main Entrance.

The library serves all aspects of the community by providing programs that reach a wide range of ages, including children and teens. The library features a Lego club, weekly family story time, movie screenings, and creative teen programs on a monthly basis.

The Woodcrest Library began as a stop on the Riverside County bookmobile schedule in 1999. The bookmobile stopped in front of the Stater Bros. Market located in the Woodcrest Plaza shopping center. By 2001, it was decided that the Woodcrest area needed a library building of its own. Space was leased in the same shopping center and two suites were combined to make an 1,800 square-foot area to house the new library, which opened on October 21, 2001. This storefront had all the necessary requirements, including public computers, a children’s area, tables for studying, magazines, as well as comfortable reading chairs. The library was an instant success.

By 2006, the Woodcrest Library had outgrown its storefront location, and in response to this growth, the county built a beautiful 10,080-square-foot, LEEDS certified building. The grand opening of the Woodcrest Community Library was held on November 10, 2007. The library showcased a large children’s area with computers, tables, and chairs, a cozy nook for reading, and its own rock. Other enhancements included two study rooms located next to the dedicated teen area, as well as more tables and chairs for studying, reading, and lounging throughout the library. Both the library building and surrounding grounds have wireless access for patrons to use their own laptops in the library or outdoors. The collection is tagged with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) circulation allowing self-checkout.

As the first County Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) certified building in the area, the Woodcrest Library features several sustainable elements, such as overhangs that eliminate solar heat and glare in the library, a daylight diffusion control skylight, a storm water-permeable parking lot composed of decomposed granite, task specific lighting, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting materials, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, day lighting at the children’s reading area and tables, chairs, and paneling made from Forest Stewardship Council Certified Wood. Along with making the library a sustainable site, these features provide the library with water efficiency and good environmental quality. The surrounding grounds include shaded and light-colored paving to reduce heat near the library and a water-wise garden.