Salt Lake Library

The Building

We were a bit shocked when Duane told us that the original “Salt Lake Library” started out as a storefront space in the neighboring Salt Lake Shopping Center. The building that exists now was built in 1992 and opened in August of the same year. What makes it unique is that it’s two stories and the HSPLS support offices are on the second floor—it’s basically command central. The Catalog department, IT department, Advertising and Marketing (Hi Paul!!) and Human Resources for the whole Hawaii State Public Library System are all there toiling away to make sure everything runs smoothly!

The parking lot is shared with Aliamanu Elementary, so it’s not unusual to see lots of kids milling around the entrance waiting for pick-ups or doing homework. Once inside, the circulation desk is to the right and to the left are the community bulletin boards and Friends of the Library books for sale. Looking straight ahead the first thing you see is a floor-to-ceiling set of windows looking out onto Salt Lake Boulevard. The main area is very grand and spacious, splitting the library into two halves. Although, this is the first library where the bigger area was for the kids. On the right there’s the Teen and YA books with a sizeable collection of teen magazines, manga and graphic novels. The keiki section is on the far side with some small tables and chairs, low shelves, and loads of carpet space to move around on during story times.

The middle of the library is filled with tables and flanked on three sides by large murals on the high ceiling. The murals titled “Moanalua Memories” are a set of cultural/historical illustrations of the area and they’re simply gorgeous. Done by Patrick Ching in 1999 they were put up by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts as part of the Art in Public Places Program. I can’t imagine these murals in any other library—they’re so well suited for Salt Lake’s high ceilings, wide open spaces and natural light from the massive windows. This atrium-like area has “great acoustics” according to Duane, and they often have Hawaii Theater for Youth and other musical presentations there because of that and the amount of space.

The adult fiction, nonfiction, media and Hawaiiana sections are all on the other side. We love how the shelves are arranged on a diagonal— it really makes the space feel larger and flow better. It’s less boxy and allows you to see almost every section of the library (yay for not losing Alex in the stacks—it happens a lot). The back wall is affectionately called the “Featured Fiction Wall” with staff picks and reading recommendations. They also have a ‘Quiet Room’ for study and silent reading where they keep their magazines and newspapers.

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It's Interesting

  • The Salt Lake City Public Library system is a network of public libraries funded by Salt Lake City. The Free Public Library of Salt Lake City first opened on February 14, 1898. The system is under the direction of a library board and circulates more than three million items each year.
    There are six locations: the Main Branch library downtown...

  • KCPW-FM is a public radio station in Salt Lake City, Utah which broadcasts programming from NPR, BBC, PRI, as well as local programming. It broadcasts from a studio at Library Square at the Salt Lake City Public Library in downtown Salt Lake City.
    It broadcasts at 88.3 MHz FM (KCPW-FM) in Salt Lake City, and 105.3 MHz FM (K287AE) in Holladay...

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