Hemet Public Library
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The library can trace its history back to 1906 when members of the Hemet Woman's Club wanted a place to gather and read literature, so they opened a reading room on the second floor of a bank on the Bothin Block (once the financial hub of our Valley near the northwest corner of Harvard Street and Florida Avenue).
After the City's own incorporation in 1910, citizens voted for their own library, and the new City took over the operation of its own library facility. Soon, the upstairs reading room opened by the Woman's Club quickly outgrew itself. Woman's Club members—along with many other community organizations campaigned to get a public building built to house a permanent library collection. The late Mrs. E. A. Davis then composed a letter to Andrew Carnegie (who was one of the world's richest men, and who has long been considered the “patron saint of libraries”) begging for the funds to help the community build a brand new facility. Mr. Carnegie responded by sending a check for $7500. However, Carnegie placed a contingency on his donation: the City of Hemet had to contribute the remainder of the $12,000 necessary to complete the construction. The City of Hemet agreed to contribute the funds soon after. The land used for the first library facility was donated by Mr. and Mrs. James St. John and the library was built there on the corner of Buena Vista Street and Florida Avenue. Construction of the “Carnegie Library” was completed in early 1913.
The Carnegie Library remained open and operated by the City for 52 years. The Carnegie Library was eventually razed in 1969 having stood in the community for 56 years. This made room for the C. B. Covell Memorial Library Building which began construction in March 1971. Named after Clarence B. Covell, a Library Board member from 1910-1920, the Covell Memorial Library Building was designed by Hemet architect James Calkins. The Covell Library was 11,400 square feet (1,060 m2) and accommodated approximately 60,000 items.
As the City of Hemet continued to grow, so too did the number of citizens wanting to use the library. By the start of the new millennium, it was quite clear that the Library was facing growing pains once again. For years, the cramped spaces and difficult parking had made any visit to the Covell Library Building a frustrating and tiring experience. That would soon change. After months of construction, the City of Hemet opened its current facility on June 21, 2003. Designed by architect John Loomis of 30 th Street Architects, the library is approximately 52,000 square feet (4,800 m2).