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Mission Viejo Library plans a party to celebrate 20 years of serving the community

October 11, 2017

MISSION VIEJO Jeff Price remembers a time when Mission Viejo residents would head to the library for computer classes that taught them how to use the internet.

“We’re older than Google,” said Price, 50, who has worked at the library since it opened in 1997 and currently works as an adult reference librarian.

“Many people didn’t know what the internet was in 1997, or if they did, their kids were telling them what to do,” he said.

Twenty years later, the Mission Viejo Library continues to be an important hub for the community with a program list that runs all things text and tech, art and presentation.

In all, the library has 185,000 volumes, including books, DVDs, audio and more, as well as 500,000 digital titles, said Genesis Hansen, director of library and cultural services with the city.

To celebrate, the library is holding a 20th Anniversary Celebration 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. The event will include Native American storytelling, a read-a-thon therapy dog, free train rides, presentations by illustrator Robin Priess and cartoonist Kevin Fagan (known for his “Drabble” comic strips) and live music by the 80z All-Stars rock band.

There will also be activity booths with hands-on activities, Friends of the Library will have a trivia booth and there will be games on the lawn, Hansen said.

“It’s a really exciting celebration for us,” Hansen said. “The community is part of the library…We love and support our community and want to do everything we can to make the community thrive.”

The library, at 100 Civic Center, was built using warm natural woods, travertine lamps and slate and rock inside and outside to recreate the early California ranch style that fits the community’s character, former mayor Robert Breton said during a presentation at the City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10.

“It houses our memories as well as our dreams,” Breton said. “Its interior and exterior continue to beckon people of all ages to come inside and explore.”

Hansen said the library has become a place for community groups to grow organically, whether it’s those looking for a career change, working on a thesis for a graduate degree or coming in and working in the Heritage room day after day.

“Having a local library makes a positive impact on the community, whether it’s supporting education, lifelong learning or personal enrichment,” she said. “It’s tailored to the needs of the community and it can be really responsive to what the community needs. We can assess what their expectations are and respond quickly.”

Prior to its opening, residents in the city would visit a small county library on Chrisanta Drive that had 37 parking spots, Price said.

“It was great at the time in the 70s,” he said, “but Mission Viejo grew so much throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s. We had to expand it to fulfill the community’s needs. Now we have more than 30 parking spaces.”

Since 1997, the library has gone through an expansion that coincided with the opening of City Hall in 2003 and has added plenty of extra functionality and features, including wi-fi, expanding the children’s area and providing more programming to more ages, more often, Price said.

These days, programming ranges from movie nights, coloring and storytime to author presentations through the Writers Present program, which has included such authors and celebrities as Bill Walton, Alan Alda and Paula Poundstone in 2017 alone.

“We even had a pie-making program,” Price said. “That probably wouldn’t have been something we would have considered 20 years ago.”

As for the library moving forward, Price said younger staff members are taking the reins and continuing to help residents adapt to changing technologies.

Residents attending Saturday’s event can get a tour of the library to see all that it offers, Hansen said.

“It’s going to be a full day of fun,” she said.

To accommodate a potentially large attendance, free shuttle service will be available to and from the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way.


What: Mission Viejo Library 20th Anniversary Celebration

When: 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14

Where: Mission Viejo Library, 100 Civic Center

Cost: Free

Information: or 949-830-7100

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