Salt Lake City Public Library System

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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.

What else?

-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.

It's Interesting

  • 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...
  • The Jordan River Parkway is an approximately 40-mile (64 km) urban park that runs along the Jordan River within the US state of Utah. The parkway follows along the river from Utah Lake in Utah County, through Salt Lake County and onto the Great Salt Lake in Davis County. The majority of a mixed-use trail has been completed with a shared-use...
  • It Gets Better is an Internet-based project founded in the United States by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller on September 21, 2010, in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. Its goal is to prevent suicide among LGBT youth by having gay adults...

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