August 16, 1901
Andrew Carnegie Grant
Andrew Carnegie grants Riverside $20,000 for a library building.
Construction begins on the Main library at the northeast corner of Seventh and Orange Streets. The Mission Revival building is the work of the architectural firm of Burham and Blieser of Los Angeles; the general contractor is J. W. Carroll of Riverside.
July 31, 1903
Opens to the Public
The Carnegie Library opens to the public. It has a capacity of 20,000 volumes.
An addition to the back of the Carnegie Library is completed. Partially funded by another Carnegie Grant, the $15,000 project creates a children's room for the first time.
March 7, 1912
Library Service School
The Riverside Library Service School is formally established.
First Trust Fund
Ethan Allan Chase creates the Library's first trust fund.
June 30, 1917
Voters Defeat Bond
Riverside voters defeat a $40,000 bond issue and cause the loss of matching funds from the Carnegie Foundation to expand the Library and the Library Service School Facilities.
The foundation of the Carnegie Library settles, shattering the west wall and southwest corner of the building.
Allatt & Humphrey Houses
The City Council agrees to raise the $30,000 to purchase the Allatt and Humphrey houses to the east of the Library in return for $25,000 from the Carnegie Library Foundation to repair and expand the Carnegie Building.
February 25, 1922
New Reference Wing
The new "Reference Wing," designed by Riverside architect G. Stanley Wilson, is opened to the public. The Carnegie Library now has a 100,000 volume capacity.
Great Depression Era
The Library Service School occupies the remodeled Allatt House. After remodeling, the Humphrey House becomes a children's library and is designed as the "Junior Branch." The Library loses half of its City funding due to the Great Depression.
May 15, 1942
Library Ships Rare Books
Fearing bombing or invasion, the Library ships its rarest books, local history materials, and archives to the University of Colorado at Boulder for storage.
August 14, 1943
The Library Service School closes and the County Free Library offices move into the Allatt House.
The Library becomes a depository for California and Federal government publications.
October 17, 1961
Voters Approve Bond
69% of Riverside voters approve a $1.7 million bond issue to construct a new Main library building after defeating the same proposal 6 months earlier.
April 1, 1963
Parking Lots Controversy
The site for the new library is approved by the City Council after 18 months of controversy over the location and size of parking lots around the building.
June 25, 1963
New Main Library
A groundbreaking ceremony is held for the new Main library.
November - December 1964
Open to the Public
The Carnegie Library and the Allatt and Humphrey Houses are demolished; the new Main library is occupied and opened to the public.
March 21, 1965
New Library Dedicated
Riverside's new Main library is dedicated. The 61,420 square-foot structure designed by the Riverside architectural firm of Moise, Harbach and Hewlett has a 300,000 volume capacity and seating for 550 patrons.
Adapted from "Serving through Partnership" by Ronald J. Baker
Riverside Public Library