Libraries aren’t just for reading anymore
June 9, 2015
As of Monday afternoon, the Park City Library was anything but quiet. Truckloads of landscaping materials were being delivered, IT teams were booting up banks of new computers and workmen wielding noisy power tools were installing a colorful ceiling in the new technology lab. The smell of fresh paint and newly installed carpeting — along with a palpable sense of excitement — wafted through the stacks, already filled with carefully cataloged books, and out onto the reading terrace.
The library has been closed for just over a year while undergoing a $9.6 million renovation and is scheduled to re-open with a big public celebration on Saturday.
Amid the activity, Park City Library Director Adriane Herrick Juarez, wearing blue jeans and a broad smile, admitted there is still a lot of work to do before the weekend but her eyes lit up while showing off the project’s new high-tech bells and whistles amid the exposed bricks and beams of the historic building.
"Libraries today are trying to encourage people to come together to share ideas. We want this library to be invigorated. That’s what we are here for," she said while pointing out a children’s play area complete with a mini-mountain hideaway, a fully loaded multimedia lab, wide open reading spaces and cozy meeting rooms.
Saturday’s visitors will be ushered into the facility through a new glass-walled entryway, bedecked with a shimmering silver mobile and specially commissioned mural, past a coffee bar that opens onto an outdoor patio, and into a central information area surrounded by large reading areas designated for children, youth and teens. Beyond the front desk they will catch glimpses of an intriguing multimedia lab complete with a sound studio, green screen room and 3D printer where all sorts of gadgets, including GoPro cameras will be available to check out.
"We are thrilled about the possibilities," Herrick Juarez bubbled.
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Climbing the wood-and-brushed-steel grand staircase, Herrick Juarez credited the project architect, Blalock & Partners Architectural Design Studio, for incorporating spaces for community collaboration while maintaining flexibility for future needs. The second floor is filled with volumes of fiction and nonfiction, interspersed with easy chairs, and lined with private study rooms, which unlike old-style claustrophobic library carrels, are built to accommodate intimate groups of individuals and look out over the Park City skyline.
There is a room dedicated to Park City history where old editions of The Park Record are still available to view on microfiche, 10 public computer stations, two large board rooms equipped with smart TVs for presentations and several classrooms that are flooded with sunlight.
The third floor is still devoted to the auditorium, which will welcome back the Park City Film Series with special screenings on Saturday (Please see article on Page C-1). But facing the renovated theater, patrons will notice a swanky new lobby, flanked by a commercial-grade kitchen that will also be available to reserve for private events.
Saturday’s event will kick off with a symbolic book brigade from the library’s old home in the Miners Hospital to its most recent digs on Park Avenue. It is a big step for the city’s 127-year-old public library which started out with less than 100 volumes and now boasts a collection that includes music, movies, audio books and a 3D printer.
"We are so excited about having the latest and greatest technology and being able to offer the highest level of customer service," said Herrick Juarez, adding, "I just hope everyone will come out on Saturday."
For a complete schedule of Saturday’s celebration please see page C-2 or go to parkcitylibrary.org