Grant allows the Summit County Library to expand Coalville Branch’s books with ties to Utah |

Grant allows the Summit County Library to expand Coalville Branch’s books with ties to Utah

Librarian invites public to ‘Explore the Unexpected’

The Summit County Library Coalville Branch's collection of Utah-inspired books increased by 123 thanks to a $2,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Technology Act, which was administered by the Utah State Library Division. The new collection of books has been dubbed “Explore the Unexpected” by the Coalville Branch manager.
Tanzi Propst/Park Record

The Summit County Library Coalville Branch has added a few more chapters to its Utah history books.

The collection now features 123 new books thanks to a $2,000 grant, funds for which are provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Utah State Library Division, said Summit County Library Librarian Kirsten Nilsson.

“This was a great thing for us, because only eight libraries in the state received the grant,” Nilsson said. “It was fun to spend $2,000, because the money went a long way.”

The Coalville Branch needed a beefing up, and one of the conditions of the grant was to purchase books about Utah history and books written by Utah-based authors, according to Nilsson.

“When we made out the application, we did an inventory and found that Coalville only had about three or four nonfiction books about Utah,” she said. “So we were able to buy all of these books, half of which are nonfiction.”

The new collection of books is called “Explore the Unexpected,” because it is “filled with surprises and so much fun,” said Susan Murphy, Coalville Branch manager.

“For example, ‘How the West Was Worn’ is a cool book about fashion in the Wild West, from hairstyles to hats,” she said.

It also tells readers how to distinguish Native American tribes by the styles of their footwear, Murphy said.

“Of course the book covers underwear of the Wild West, too,” she said. “Wild West underwear started at the neck all the way down to the ankles,(so) people must have roasted in all that underwear.”

(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

The collection also features new books that highlight the role of women in Utah history, according to Murphy.

“The book ‘Thinking Women’ takes a look at women’s suffrage in Utah,” she said. “We’ve all heard of Susan B. Anthony, but in 1870 the women in Utah were the first women in this nation to vote. That was quite a radical move for the state of Utah.”

For those interested in hidden treasures, the collection includes a book called “The Utah Gold Rush,” which offers clues to the location of the lost Rhoades Gold Mine.

“Folklore suggests that Caleb Baldwin Rhoades discovered a gold mine filled with riches in the 1800s, but only Rhoades knew where this secret mine was located,” Murphy said. “The authors of this book believe that this lost mine holds the greatest gold deposit the world has ever seen — including the remains of Montezuma’s treasures – and the authors also believe the location of the lost Rhoades Gold Mine is in the Uintas, close to Kamas.”

Other new books, such as “Utah Curiosities,” contain unique, quirky and fun tidbits about Utah.

“Who knew that the world record holder for the longest fingernails lived in Utah,” Murphy said. “Her name was Lee Redmond and her fingernails were 30 inches long. Unfortunately her fingernails broke in 2009 when she was thrown from a car in a traffic accident. Besides her nails, luckily her injuries were not life threatening, thank goodness”

Of course there is a book about Pony Express stations in Utah, which includes sections about the Snyder Mill Pony Express station, which was located near the old Bitner Ranch.

“Besides having 11 hotel rooms for travelers, the old Bitner Ranch homestead was the site of the first saloon in the Park City area,” Murphy said.

Park City isn’t the only place these books showcase, she said.

“Last Chance Byway” is about the history of the Nine Mile Canyon, which runs between the towns of Price and Duchesne, Murphy said.

“This canyon is filled with prehistoric rock and remnants of the ancient Fremont Indians,” she said. “And Butch Cassidy — Utah’s most famous outlaw — hid out in Nine Mile Canyon.”

In addition, the collection features books by American Fork-based fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, Park City-based thriller writer Jack Carr and poet May Swenson, according to Nilsson.

“Utah is prolific when it comes to writers,” she said. “So we were able to fill in a lot of fiction, too.”

Murphy said she could go on and on about the books, but would like the public to visit the Coalville Branch to check them out themselves.

“There’s something for everyone in this quirky collection, and you’ll love our little library, too,” she said. “It was the old Coalville Hospital built in 1935, and the massive Operating Room Light still hangs from the ceiling.”

For information about the “Explore the Unexpected” collection at the Summit County Library Coalville Branch, visit the branch at 82 50 E, Coalville, or visit

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