Library renovation will be a lasting legacy
June 12, 2015
Park City’s library, which reopens today with a big celebration, began as a tiny kernel of culture nurtured by a succession of women’s volunteer organizations who tended a humble collection of books that was shuffled from one location to another — from a church basement in the 1880s to a two-room cubbyhole next to the 10 o’clock whistle tower until well into the 1980s.
The Ladies Library Association and the Women’s Athenaeum kept the pages turning while the town weathered its transition from mining camp to ski town and then turned the project over to the town fathers.
It wasn’t long, though, before the upwardly mobile city was forced to find bigger quarters for its library. In the 1980s, citizens supported the effort by approving a bond to restore a historic landmark — the Miners Hospital.
The old hospital served the purpose for a decade before it too began to bulge and the city moved the collection again, this time to the old Carl Winters High School, which was sitting vacant on Park Avenue.
And so, for the last 22 years the library has shared the old school’s hallways, classrooms and auditorium with a revolving collage of other educational organizations, from preschools to university extensions. But, to be honest, it was getting a bit musty. If not literally, then technologically.
But thanks to a forward-thinking library staff and supportive City Council, the Park City library’s newest incarnation is on the cutting edge of information technology.
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With its multimedia lab, spacious reading areas and multiple meeting rooms, the library offers the potential to redefine community interaction.
Those women who hushed children, helped residents decode the Dewey Decimal System and reshelved book returns all those years ago might not immediately recognize the video equipment at the checkout counter or the smart TVs in the library’s brand new conference rooms, but they would be right at home among today’s Parkites seeking enlightenment and sharing their newfound interests at their public library.
The Park City Library’s $9.6 million renovation is part of a continuing legacy that will benefit generations to come.
For more information about Saturday’s celebration, which begins with a book brigade at 11:30 a.m., a ribbon cutting at noon, and tours of the whole facility from 1-6 p.m. go to: parkcitylibrary.org
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