Founded in 1911, the Riverside County Free Library quickly grew to ten branches spanning the distance from Thermal to Corona. 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.
Today, the Riverside County Library System (RCLS) is comprised of 35 libraries and two museums that provide quality services throughout Riverside County. The Library Connect Mobile Resource Vans bring library services and educational programs to the underserved regions of Riverside County.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.