Salt Lake City Public Library System
I am extremely, extremely, extremely impressed and delighted by this library. A city this size has no business having a top-shelf public library, so Salt Lakers-be very proud. Sentimental attachments aside, I would prefer to come here than to my home library in Chicago.
Where to begin? The architecture: This building was completed in 2006 and yes, it is very "modern." I usually hate "modern" anything. But it's modern without being angular, jumbled, chaotic, bizarre, slick, ostentatious, or vertiginous. The entry atrium is sort of like a shopping mall, with a row of small stores to the left, and the library proper to the right. The south wall is entirely glass, so to utilize the seating on that side gives you a view of the spectacular mountain vistas. Thanks to all the glass used on all sides of the building, the entire facility is flooded with light.
Speaking of seating: There is plenty. PLENTY. Way more than most other public libraries. Large study tables, individual carrels, and lots of comfortable easy-chair-style choices. Sometimes I want to come to the library to sit down and READ. Thank you, SLCPL! (CPL, are you paying attention?) On the northwest corner of each floor, there is a seating area with stacked fireplaces. Fireplaces! How cool is that?!
Books: Obviously the main point of any library. Their collection seems very, very healthy. I carry a list of "books of interest" for times when I am in a bookstore or library looking for something new. Their catalogue showed me all eight of the non-fiction books on my list, and they were all available too. Plus they had a Georges Simenon novel for which I've been searching for over a year that the entire Chicago Public Library system (plus Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette, and Glenview) do not even carry. The collection gets top marks.
-The aisle-ending shelf labels have descriptions as well as call numbers
-The complex includes generous outdoor public space
-The online catalogue system is facile and comprehensive
-The TRAX stop across the street is the last westbound stop inside the Free Zone
-The library store sells a few used books, including dozens of 2007 and 2008 Frommer's travel guides for only $8. That's a great bargain!
As an earnest bibliophile and a long-time champion of public libraries, I really cannot say enough about how impressed I am with the SLCPL. Utahns, please cherish this gift and put it to good use. Visitors, check it out and make yourselves jealous.
Jennie Hansen is a Latter Day Saint (LDS) fiction author whose publications include newspaper and magazines articles, news stories, editorials, short stories, reviews of other LDS author's work, and twelve novels. She also is a frequent speaker at firesides, conferences, and literary groups.
Hansen was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and was first...
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