Our Downtown Library Needs Your Help

About Our Historic Main Library

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This Tuesday, February 23, our City Council will vote on moving the Main Library to a new location and to authorize the City Manger to enter a contract to negotiate with Discovery Science Foundation to establish a Discovery Cube children’s science center the old Main Library location. We believe these proposals are flawed and need your help in opposing them.


Riverside Downtown LibraryRiverside has had a Main Library at the current location for 114 years. Over the last 8 years there have been discussions to either remodel the current building, demolish and build new on current location, or move to a new location altogether.  The current building was actually solidly built and in such a way to accommodate future expansion.

The city has neglected the Main Library for years.  Public meetings held to discuss the Main Library have been well attended and the overwhelming sentiment has been to keep the Main Library at its current location.

The need for a new building has been driven by the Library Director and city staff.     

The proposal being considered Tuesday is to move the Main Library to a small lot at Mission Inn and Chestnut.  City staff has been promoting this because the property is Redevelopment Agency which must be disposed of by June or it reverts to State control. It would have limited parking and any future expansion would require taking adjacent residential properties.

The second proposal, which comes from the new City Manager, is to allow him to start negotiations with the Discovery Science Foundation from Orange County to occupy the old library building at a cost to the city of up to $10 million. The Discovery Cube model is for daily school buses children and the Main Library is not suited to this use.  This proposal was only made public 10 days ago and has not been vetted by any board or committee. We are only being offered one choice. How do we know this is the right fit for Riverside?


The public has, at meeting after meeting, stated a desire to keep the Main Library at its current historical location. The city should honor the wishes of the community.

The addition of a science center or museum is a worthy concept but should be thoughtfully developed in a committee. We should examine several examples and consult with our local Universities. Careful consideration should be given to location, needed facilities, and the compatibility with adjacent uses.

Actions to take:

Call and email each of the Council members and the Mayor. We are including direct cell phone numbers.  Also email a copy of your comments to the City Clerk so they can be included in the official record.

Mayor:   Rusty Bailey                         rbailey@riversiceca.gov

Ward 1: Mike Gardner  951-941-7084 c                    mgardner@riversideca.gov

Ward 2: Andy Melendrez       951-453-5371 c           asmelendrez@riversideca.gov

Ward 3: Mike Soubirous  951-515-1663 c      msoubirous@rivesideca.gov

Ward 4: Paul Davis     951-453-1625 c                       pdavis@riversideca.gov

Ward 5: Chris Mac Arthur      951-990-9719 c           cmacarthur@riversideca.gov

Ward 6: Jim Perry 951-741-8239 c                 jperry@riversideca.gov

Ward 7: John Burnard  909-262-0753 c         jburnard@riversideca.gov

City Clerk:  Colleen Nicol                              cnicol@riversideca.gov

Talking Points:

Here is what to say:

  1. Please keep the Main Library in its current historical location. The public has asked this many times.The least expensive action to take, is to clean and restore the current building. The current building has more than enough room so there is no reason to build a new building. (The Director has actually stated they have too much room)
  1. Do not authorize the City Manager to enter into a Exclusive Negotiating Agreement.
  1. Ask that a committee be convened to developed the concept of a Science Center/Museum for the City of Riverside.We should seek participation from the local school districts and Universities.

Most Important Action- Attending and Speaking at the Council Meeting!

We need you to come to the City Council meeting and give public comments.  This is important. The Council pays close attention when a large number of people show up and speak.  The Main Library is at one of the most historical and sensitive locations in our city.  It is surrounded by the jewels in the crown.

Please join us at City Hall this Tuesday, February 23 at 6:30 PM at 3900 Main St., Riverside.

There will be two opportunities to speak. Once during regular public comments, and then again during the public comments for this specific item.  You will have 3 minutes per public comment. There are Comment Cards in the back of the Chamber. You must fill one out for each item you wish to speak on, putting your name, ward, and item number on the card, and then hand it to the city clerk at the front right of the dais. Then you wait to be called.

You may also submit an e-comment (which is limited to 1000 words) and find the full proposal attached to the agenda here: https://riversideca.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx


Kevin Dawson

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