Summit County Library offers more than books |

Summit County Library offers more than books

Many people see libraries as book warehouses. They go and find a book they want to read, check it out and return it by the due date.

The Summit County Library system is trying to change that misconception, said Director Daniel Compton.

"One of our big goals is to help people realize that the library isn’t just a place where they can consume content," Compton said during an interview with The Park Record. "The library is also a place where people can come and create content."

That’s why it has offered the public programs such as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) last November.

"We offered a space at the Richins Building at Kimball Junction to people so they could come and write and work on their novels," Compton said. "We actually had one patron who came in quite regularly who finished her 50,000-word novel. She’s now on her second draft and we’re hoping she can get that published."

Compton wants the public to know that the library is a place where people can come and study and collaborate with other people and all the services it offers are free.

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"We have rooms where people can set up meetings and tutoring sessions," he said. "We are a place where people in the community can come and gather and learn things.

The Summit County Library also offers new programs for children.

"Kirsten Nilsson, our youth services librarian, has started a Magic Tree Explorers Club every second Tuesday of the month at the Kimball Junction Branch," Compton said. "Each month the kids will read a Magic Tree book and do an activity based on the history and theme of the book."

Nilsson also started a mother and daughter book club.

"That is the newest thing we have to offer," Compton said. "That was an idea from one of our patrons and they suggested it to us. They actually began this at people’s homes, and we felt it would be great to move it to the library. It’s been going well."

Taking a cue from the Park City Film Series Books 2 Movies program, which screens films every month at the Summit County Library, the library also started it’s own book-to-film club each month that shows films based on books.

"The goal is to have people read the book before hand, and after watching the film, talk about it afterwards," Compton said. "So far, that’s going well. We recently screened ‘The 100 Foot Journey’ last week and it was well attended."

The Kimball Junction Branch isn’t the only Summit County Library that offers public programs, according to Compton.

"We also have branches in Kamas and Coalville that are doing some exciting things," he said.

One of the upcoming programs in Coalville will feature Utah writer McKenzie Wagner.

"McKenzie is a locally based published author who is 13," Compton said. "McKenzie started writing books when she was 7 years old and this is a great example of how we can show kids ways to be creative.

"We’ve partnered with North Summit PTA to bring her in to talk with the kids at the elementary school," he said. "Then she’ll be at the Coalville Branch to do a book signing."

The Kamas branch holds story times every Wednesday and hosts the Kamas Valley Writers group once a month, according to Compton.

"They just held an avalanche safety course last month and they will be doing other things as well," he said. "There is always something going on in our branches."

Adding to these activities is the Summit County Library’s year-round Bookmoblie program overseen by Lee Whiting.

"The Bookmobile supplements our library collection and most of the services during the winters at schools, such as the Park City Day School," Compton said.

"During the warmer months, [Whiting] goes to the parks for outdoor story times and the Farmer’s Market at Canyons."

In some cases, the area’s preschools don’t have a library or don’t have much of one, Compton said.

"So we feel using the Bookmobile to do these outreach sessions is important because we want to develop lifetime learners," he said.

Whiting also takes the Bookmobile to visit senior citizens who don’t or can’t make it out much.

"He’ll visit senior centers in North Summit and in Park City and he also does home visits for those who are homebound," Compton said. "Lee also works with people who qualify for audio-books readings and sets those up."

Compton also has new ideas he wants to develop in the future.

"We are toying with the idea that is somewhat cutting edge to rent out wireless hotspots for people who don’t have Internet access," he said. "We do have wireless access and computers in our libraries, but we’re closed on Sundays and not everyone can visit us during business hours.

"In this day and age, it’s hard for people to get by without some sort of access to the Internet," he said. "So we’re looking at different sources to fund this program."

Compton also wants to install self-checkout technology.

"That will help with our efficiency and privacy for our patrons," he said. "We try to make our libraries a place where people can come and have life-long learning opportunities that will enrich their lives."

For more information about the Summit County Library, visit