Grant Hamel, Hamel Contracting of Murrieta, builder of the new Idyllwild Library in Strawberry Plaza and construction Superintendent Dave Celani previewed the new library’s bright and airy interior. On Friday, June 22, 3rd District Supervisor Jeff Stone and members of the Friends of the Library walked through the structure for the first time since interior walls, and windows had been installed.
Stone expects the library will open in early September and he plans a formal opening ceremony later in the month.
The most heard comment among attendees was, “It is so bright and looks so much bigger with the walls in place.”
Friends board member Bob Ferguson said, “This is so much more than we expected. It never occurred to me when Joe Coronet [previous owner] told me he was open to discussing sale to the county that this is what we’d eventually have.”
Attendees complimented interior colors, the organization of the space, and the uplifting ambiance the high ceiling and ambient light provide. “The county’s choice of architects was outstanding,” said Ferguson. “They worked so closely with us and listened to all our suggestions. And we made our suggestions after visiting other libraries and seeing what worked and what didn’t.”
Supervisor Stone first went to look at the framing for the interior fireplace, a bit of mountain ambiance he had suggested. “Can’t you see sitting here, snow falling outside, with the fireplace glowing?” Everyone seemed pleased.
Not pleased was a group, led by Gabriella Dapeer, protesting the apparent dismissal of longtime librarian Teresa Brouwer after 22 years with the library as well as two volunteers who quit earlier. Wednesday, June 20, was Brouwer’s last day.
County Librarian Barbara Morrow Williams stressed, when asked about Brouwer’s dismissal, that Library Systems and Services of Germantown, Maryland, the company with which the county contracts library staffing and administration, has handled hiring, firing and administration of county libraries for 15 years. Neither she nor the Economic Development Agency has authority over those matters. Neither Betsy Messtmore, LSSI’s Human Resources supervisor, nor West Coast Administrator Mark Smith would comment on or confirm Brouwer’s status.
“I was laid off,” Brouwer said, and said she saw no possibility of returning.