Salt Lake City Libraries

Salt Lake City - Libraries &

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - It would be the first of its kind in the United States. The Salt Lake City Downtown Public Library is exploring the idea of opening its doors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The idea of opening the Main Library around the clock has been tossed around for years, but now the library has a group of private donors who will fund a two year pilot program to see if a 24 hour system works.

Salt Lake City Public Library Executive Director John Spears said, "We want to make sure that if we're going to do this, we're going to do this right. This isn't something that any public library in the United States has done before."

Currently the library is open 9am to 9pm Monday - Thursday with shorter weekend hours. The library says opening 24 hours will allow more people to use the facility. "While a lot of people see it as serving kind of a niche group in a community, as we've been kind of have been talking to people about this we kind of realized this is something that anyone, regardless of what their schedule, they're going to be able to avail themselves of it, " said Spears.

Sure the homeless will likely make use of a 24 hour library, but so might the University students who have no place to study once the campus library has closed.

University of Utah student Shishir Bhergav told ABC 4 News, "If I need to study something and if I need a good environment where I can study I can definitely make use of this library."

Shift workers who don't have the typical 9 to 5 might also make use of a 24 hour library. Mary Boregino told ABC 4 News, "Sometimes I'm working all night and sometimes 5 in the morning is when I'm off, so if the library were available to me at that time too, that would be great. I would love it."

The proposed 24 hour library would only have two floors open overnight and the costs are estimated at about $600, 000 a year. Before the two year pilot program begins the Salt Lake City Public Library wants to hear from you.

Spears said, "We're going to be able to do something that very few public libraries have ever been able to do, we're going to be able to provide hard data about how it will be used, exactly what it will cost, exactly what it will mean for the taxpayers and to all them to make an informed decision."

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