Mesa Public Library: Not Your Mama’s Library

Honestly, it is NOT my mom’s library any longer! My mom worked here from 1976 to 1987, retiring just as the library was making the big transition from card catalog to computers. Now, more than 28 years later, there is SO much that is offered digitally and the library has transformed into a space with a lot more than books.

Some of the libraries greatest resources are now found online. Check out all the free books, magazines, videos, music and more available with a library card at: (Overdrive is my personal favorite!)

Our tour was given by Cherise Mead of the Mesa Main Public Library, which is downtown at 64 E. First St.

The library is no longer just about checking out books, but, of course, you can still do that! More than 1.4 million books circulated through Mesa Public Library last fiscal year.

You can get help from a librarian, and often it’s a question about the computers.

On the main floor it was interesting to see “behind the curtain.” Here, after a patron returns an item, a book or a DVD goes down the conveyor belt and is automatically checked in and sorted into bins to be reshelved.

The children’s area on the main floor is a wonderful place for children with separate spaces for young children to older children and teens. There are also a lot of activities and programs offered here. Check the online calendar for monthly schedules:


Did you know there are other things besides books that you can check out?

Bet few knew you could check out a novelty cake pan for that special party!
Or sports equipment, and they were all gone today!
Peruse the used books for sale and take one home. Profits go right back into library programs and services.

Downstairs is the Genesis Youth Center. Maricopa Workforce maintains and staffs the center and it is designed to assist youth between the ages of 14-24 gain the skills they need to become self-sufficient through education, employment, and leadership activities. If eligible, participants work with a Youth Career Guidance Specialist to create a personalized plan for a successful future.

For more information of the resources and services Genesis Youth Center offers, go to:

Maricopa Workforce maintains and staffs the Genesis Youth Center in the basement of the Mesa Public Library downtown.

Downstairs is the Mesa Room Local History Archives and Special Collections. For hours and resources available, go to:


What is it? “The primary mission of the Mesa Room is to collect, preserve and make available for research, materials on historic and present-day Mesa. We endeavor to provide prompt and professional information services to Mesa residents, city of Mesa employees, researchers and visitors. We promote knowledge and understanding of the City of Mesa through collaborative efforts with other historical and cultural institutions.” (from the Website)

These are old city directories from local municipalities.
There are some local family history books here, although Mrs. Mead said most of these types of books can be found at the Mesa LDS FamilySearch Library, 41 S. Hobson (


There are old yearbooks from local high schools.



Sharon found her husband and herself in a Mesa High School yearbook.

This aerial photo is on the wall of the Mesa Room. It’s a view of the city from 1980.

Upstairs there are more books and some other interesting offerings.

When open, this HOTspot Digital Help Desk is available for tech help for anyone on any device. Check the library’s online calendar for hours that it is staffed by a knowledgeable tech guru.

The newest addition to upstairs is the seed library. Check out seeds for growing a vegetable garden and bring some back (if you want to) at the end of the season when your plants have gone to seed and help replenish the supply. Seeds are only offered for plants to grow in season. In just a little over a month since the seed library was introduced, more than 300 seed packets were “checked out.”




Upstairs there are also big and small rooms for group meetings or study groups. To reserve a room online:


This tour was of the Mesa Main Library downtown, but there are three branch libraries:

Dobson Ranch Branch (DR)
2425 S. Dobson Road

Red Mountain Branch (RM)
635 N. Power Road

Mesa Express Library @ Power Square Mall
2055 S Power Rd. Suite 1031 (Entrance 5 of the Power Square Mall)

For more information, access to the many things the library offers online or a schedule of library activities, go to:


Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.




Mesa: A look back from 1962 and now

Interesting article in The Arizona Republic looking at Mesa then and now:

“One thing that hasn’t changed is ‘Mesa’s energy, optimism and prosperity (that) are known to all Arizona. It is easy to see why civic pride,’ as Pollock observed, ‘is one of Mesa’s most important products.'”


Found in Mesa: A Mystery Machine


This “mystery machine” has been identified!

According to ABC15:

In September, a strange piece of equipment was found along McKellips Road near the intersection with Higley Road.

Nobody could figure out what it was so city officials asked the public for help.

They got hundreds of emails and calls about what the piece of equipment could be.

Mesa officials announced Tuesday that it was determined to be part of a tablet press used to make pharmaceuticals.

They say the owner lost the piece of equipment while transporting it.

It was picked up by the city’s Transportation Department and now the unidentified owner has come forward to retrieve it.

Video here:


Got any idea what this is?

From Atlas Obscura:

The mystery machine, posed for the spotlight.

The mystery machine, posed for the spotlight. (All Photos: City of Mesa Transportation Department)

A mysterious metal machine in Mesa, Arizona, is gumming up pretty much everyone who tries to identify it.

The solid steel machine appears to have been custom-made and weighs over 1,000 pounds. Road workers found it in a field back in September, and brought it to the attention of the Transportation Department, who crane-lifted it back to the department vehicle yard. After weeks of trying to place it, they are now calling on the public to help claim, or at least name, the impressive hunk of junk.

The bottom of the machine (presumably).

The bottom of the machine (presumably).

Clues to its identity include two metal tags, one on the side that says “SET BOTTOM OF SCALE TO TOP PUNCH ENTRY,” and one affixed to a column that says “UPPER PUNCH PENETRATION.” There is also a stack of rusty wheels engraved with numerical settings.

The bottom label.

The bottom label.

Like taxonomists scratching their heads over a new type of frog, local experts have been able to puzzle out the genus of the machine, but are completely unsure about the species.

Bill McLeod, the city’s Transportation Field Operations Supervisor, told Fox 10 Phoenix he could tell it was “a machinist type object”–something used to make parts–but continued, “I just don’t know much about it.”

Rusty wheels with inscrutable settings.

Rusty wheels with inscrutable settings.

Anyone who does is encouraged to call the City of Mesa Transportation Department at 480-644-6553.

Making Light Rail Work: Valley Metro Operations and Maintenance Center

What an interesting tour today at Valley Metro Operations and Maintenance Center (OMC). Everything that makes Light Rail work in the Valley begins and ends here!

This place is the hub of light rail maintenance and operations in the Valley.

All of the Valley’s Light Rail is shown on this board to operation controllers.
Behind the main controllers is the security area video feed. Don’t think there is anywhere on or near the Light Rail that you aren’t being watched!

The 35-acre property on 48th Street, south of Washington in Phoenix, has three main structures: Maintenance of Way, Maintenance of Equipment and Light Rail Vehicle Wash. The center houses a 200-person operations and maintenance team comprising of operators, mechanics, cleaners, signal technicians, traction power electricians, track maintainers and maintenance personnel.

The train’s motor is underneath the train’s body.


This is the “car wash” giant-sized for trains.
This is how the seats are washed. Yes, they are washed!
This is how the seats are washed. Yes, they are washed regularly!
This is where they paint the trains, when necessary.
This massive bumper pushes straying people and stupid drivers out of the way when they end up on the tracks at the wrong time and saves lives!


The small cab at the front of the train is where Light Rail Operators drive the trains. They are driven by humans, not computers, and the control panel looks relatively simple compared to the complex technology that can be seen other places.
Maintenance crews work at any level. Here they are on top, where most of the equipment is housed.

Fast Facts: “OMC has the capacity and infrastructure to conduct heavy repair and overhaul work, including a 10-ton crane to move parts and equipment and a full-service body shop complete with a paint spray booth. Full-length mezzanines give crews access to vehicle roof equipment and an in-floor hoist system allows mechanics to lift two vehicles at a time.” (from the website)

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For more information on OMC, go to:

Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.


Save Our Train: Fundraiser Nov. 7

So who remembers as a kid playing on the train in Pioneer Park in downtown Mesa? I do!!


This evening I attended Mesa’s Historic Preservation Board meeting and one of the things they had a report on was Save Our Train! It’s been a few years now and they have raised some money toward moving the train to the front of the park on Main Street and restoring it. The main fundraiser is an annual event that is coming up THIS Saturday, Nov. 7!

Please see the flyer below and attend or donate if this is something that is important to you. I know I would love to see the train preserved for my grandchildren! For more info, go to the website at


Mesa Historical Museum: Preserving Mesa’s Heritage

The Mesa Leadership tour on Oct. 29 was to the Mesa Historical Museum downtown. This is a temporary location as they have BIG plans for a new museum in the former federal building at 26 N. Macdonald.

Read an article about the new museum in the Arizona Republic from last year:

The Mesa Historical Museum is temporarily at 51 E Main St. in downtown Mesa.
The Mesa Historical Museum is temporarily at 51 E Main St. in downtown Mesa. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday .

What is the history of the museum? “After getting its start in the 1940s, the Mesa Historical Museum was incorporated in 1966 by citizens concerned about the preservation of Mesa’s rich history. The museum’s original home was at the old City Hall building in downtown Mesa. This is now the location for the Arizona Museum of Natural History. As the names make clear, the Arizona Museum of Natural History focuses on the natural history of the region (including archaeology and paleontology), while the Mesa Historical Museum is dedicated to the exploring and preserving regional heritage” (from the website).


Did you know? “The Mesa Historical Museum operates two permanent museum sites. The museum campus on Main Street in Mesa features new programming and exhibitions and the historic campus in Lehi, serves as a research lab and collections facility.”


The latest exhibit features the history of Spring Training, which has deep roots in Mesa.




There is also a room dedicated to the beloved local TV show, The Wallace and Ladmo Show.


For more information, go to:

Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.

Mesa Grande: Indian Ruins in the Heart of Mesa

I didn’t get to attend this tour but these photos were taken and shared by Jaime Glasser.

The Mesa Grande Cultural Park is located at 1000 N. Date Street (corner of Date and 10th streets) in Mesa.

What is Mesa Grande? “The Hohokam, the ancestors of the Akimel O’odham (Pima), constructed the Mesa Grande temple mound. With walls made from “caliche,” the calcium carbonate hardpan that forms under our desert soils, the mound is longer and wider than a modern football field and is 27 feet high. Construction of the mound began by AD 1100 and continued to at least AD 1400. A large adobe wall encloses the mound and a large plaza in front of the mound. In one corner of the site, volunteers from the Arizona Museum of Natural History constructed a replica of a Hohokam ballcourt, an open-air structure where ballgames were played using a rubber ball made from a local plant” (from the website).

The tour was lead by Dr. Jerry Howard, curator of anthropology at the Arizona Museum of Natural History and local expert on the ruins.

One of two Hohokam “great mounds” in the Salt River Valley, the Mesa Grande mound was a dramatic symbol of the power of this ancient community. The village surrounding the mound once covered over one-half square mile and was home to perhaps two thousand Hohokam. Situated near the headgates of one of the two largest networks of irrigation canals created in the prehistoric New World, the site of Mesa Grande controlled over 27,000 acres of highly productive farmland. Today, the streets, homes and businesses of Mesa, Arizona, now cover most of the site. Preservation of the mound is due to the community and volunteer efforts already cited, and to the foresight of the city in acquiring the 6-acre property.

Did you know? The City of Mesa purchased the Mesa Grande ruins in the 1980s to preserve Mesa’s premier cultural treasure and to open it to the public as an educational and recreational facility. This project has had the enthusiastic support of the community since 1927 when local citizens and the chamber of commerce held a parade down Main Street to promote its development. More recently, the Mesa Grande Neighborhood Alliance identified the development of Mesa Grande as a heritage tourism destination as their number one economic goal.

Fast Fact: Mesa Grande is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   4

For more information and historical photos of Mesa Grande, go to:

Members of the Mesa Leadership class who attended this tour.