Book locker, first of its kind in Utah, offers opportunities for Henefer residents
It was only fitting that Henefer, which prides itself on its rich pioneer heritage, would be the first community in Utah to land a remote book locker.
“It’s exciting,” said Robin Riches, Henefer Town Councilor. “I laugh every time I think about when they said Henefer would be a great pioneer for this because we very much value our history.”
Residents in Henefer now have constant access to materials from the Summit County Library without ever having to leave town. The remote book locker, which is located at 150 W. Center St., allows library users to request books or movies online and pick them up at the locker at their convenience.
“This is just so exciting,” said Dan Compton, Summit County Library director. “This is the first one in Utah so it is pretty groundbreaking.”
When Compton first learned about the remote lockers at a conference in 2017, he didn’t think it would be possible to secure funding to get one. He said he started attending meetings with Henefer officials and pitched the idea.
“We knew it had to be indoors so it was protected, but I didn’t know where we would put it in this small town,” he said. “The Town Council was really supportive of the idea and they donated a space. It’s a great partnership that we have that is allowing us to bring in new services.”
Compton was able to secure a $27,600 grant to pay for the unit. Additional donations from Henefer and the Summit County Library helped bring the idea to fruition.
“I was kind of shooting for the stars to see what happened,” he said. “Everyone I’ve talked to in town so far is ecstatic and can’t wait to use it. My intention was to have it out in a rural community that doesn’t have a library so they can still access anything in our collection without having to drive to a branch.”
Yvonne Judd, manager of the Coalville branch of the Summit County Library, is currently delivering the materials to Henefer throughout the week. Compton said Judd lives in Henefer.
“This is really going to be a like five-day-a-week service where she is doing it daily,” he said. “Now, when she retires we will have to figure something else out.”
Henefer residents used to only have local access to library materials when the Summit County bookmobile was in town every other week. Compton said the bookmobile will still visit Henefer to let residents browse the selection.
“But, now you can request anything you want and it’s available 24/7,” he said. “I hope this serves as a template for other libraries in the state that can’t afford to build a branch in some rural areas.”
As a rural community, Henefer does not have access to many outside opportunities, Riches said. But, she said officials viewed the proposal as a unique and innovative opportunity.
“Everyone came together and we were able to create an area where the locker could fit so our residents would have ability to access 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said. “We have a great community and they support the library system. Everyone has been really positive about this.”
The new service will be commemorated with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 12, according to a Summit County press release.
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