Since opening in 1931, the Riverside Public Library has been the heart of this historic community. In fact, our library is landmark No. 1 in Riverside's landmark registry. The library is where we learn, gather and grow.

In 2012, the Riverside Public Library Board of Trustees began an intentional process of planning for the future. Studio GC, an architect/design firm that specializes in libraries, was hired to evaluate our space. Renovating the youth areas on the lower level became the focus because more than 800 children spend time in this space each month to do homework after school, work at a computer or participate in story time and special programs.

The $1.3 million renovation to the lower level calls for a complete reorganization of the space to meet the growing and changing needs of our youngest patrons. It will allow us to enhance our emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), as libraries are a natural place for exploration.

The renovation calls for all new carpeting, paint, shelving, energy-efficient lighting and a significant amount of new furniture throughout the lower level.  It will be broken down into these phases (not necessarily completed in this order):

  • Center Phase: A new Storytime/Multipurpose room will be the centerpiece of the Center Phase, a vibrant space with half window walls and a colorful gathering mat. The adjacent Children's Services Area will house magazines, computer stations and audio-visual materials. A mobile librarian's desk will be featured in the atrium around the staircase as well as additional juvenile fiction and nonfiction shelves.
  • South Phase: The Public Meeting Room will be expanded by about 250 feet, accommodate up to 70 people and have two separate entrances to allow for the space to be divided into two rooms. The space will also have better storage and an improved kitchenette. Also during the South Phase, a new Early Learners area in the southwest corner will feature tables for parents and children, a play area, dedicated computers and expanded shelving - all while maximizing views of the river and minimizing sound.
  • North Phase: The highlight of the North Phase will be a new Teen Room in the northwest corner. Already partially funded with a $57,000 contribution from the Riverside Education Foundation, the Teen Room will feature new technology to support learning projects and virtual meetings. Our Juvenile Area will also be reconfigured with the main librarian's desk and extend into new Open Study Space. The staff break room will also be updated with an area dedicated to staff meetings and team building.


While this project will be funded through patron and community donations, it has been more than 30 years since the Riverside Public Library Board of Trustees sought additional funds for a capital project. The 1984 referendum for $1.5 million provided for the 12,500-square foot addition, which opened in 1986, creating the current landmark facility we know today.

Since then, the library has made a host of improvements through careful planning and the generosity of library supporters. Those projects include:

  •  Renovation of the terrace and quiet reading room (1999)
  •  Construction of young adult area (2002)
  •  Custom Great Room lighting fixtures (2004)
  •  Lighting replaced (2005-2007)
  •  Landscaping (2006)
  •  $375,000 new HVAC (2017)
  •  More than $500,000 on various roof, plumbing and masonry repairs over the years

Friends of the Library Support

In addition, the Friends of the Library have supported many initiatives. In 2016, the Friends funded the new wooden shelving in the adult collection and they recently completed the "Opening Doors" campaign that will relocate a doorway near the elevator.
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