Plans for new Glendale Branch Library underway

Published: Sunday, April 28 2013 9:20 p.m. MDT

The new building will have some modern elements but has also been designed with the community in mind.

Architectural Nexus, Architectural Nexus, Architectural Nexus

SALT LAKE CITY — Architects and artists alike met last week to further plans on the new Glendale Branch Library, a project anticipated to be completed October 2014.

The library will be built near 1400 S. Concord St., just west of 1200 West.

"The Glendale neighborhood has a rich history, and the residents in the community are very diverse," said Julianne Hancock, Salt Lake City Library spokeswoman. "We want to make sure that the design fits that."

The Salt Lake Design Board called for Utah artists interested in submitting proposals for a public art commission at the new library. The artist's budget for the commission is $160,000.

Jeff Davis, an architect at Architectural Nexus, addressed interested artists at a pre-proposal meeting Wednesday to discuss the selection process and present project color boards, as well as current renderings of the library.

"Building plans are nearing the end of completion," Davis said. "The building will have some modern elements to it but has also been designed with the community in mind."

Ultimately, the library needs to be a place where the community can gather, he said.

"There aren't a lot of places, especially in the Glendale neighborhood, for people to get together, for local groups to meet and have a casual exchange, to explore and discover and create together," Hancock added.

The challenge, she said, lies in serving such a broad range of people with different technical aptitudes and various information needs, as well as differing socioeconomic statuses.

"We've had to think through how we're going to service people who don't speak English as a first language and how the library can help new immigrants really become (part) of their community," Hancock said.

Something as simple as leaving open spaces for teens to come together can facilitate togetherness, she said. Allowing immigrants to teach classes specific to their culture is also beneficial.

Additionally, Hancock said the role of public libraries in communities is rapidly changing.

"Today, a library is not just a building full of books. Information is available at most of our fingertips. A library is a thriving center for people to explore and exchange information. It's a cornerstone to vibrant and civil dialogue and to a democracy. And that doesn't happen in a book," she said

A library today must provide Wi-Fi or other means of exchanging information beyond books, Hancock said.

And such a model is just what the public is looking for, said Jay Ingleby, a Glendale resident and a longtime member of the Glendale Community Council.

The new library will have a computer wall for children to play with, as well as a small café with reading nooks, Ingleby said. And the project has been a long time coming, he said.

Ingleby said the library project has been a difficult, arduous process, and residents are anxious to see it carried out.

"The Chapman Library (in Poplar Grove) is the closest one we have. There is nothing wrong with it, but it's a little behind the times," he said. "You wouldn't believe how many people ask us every day when the library will be coming up. They are beyond excited."

For more information on the new library, visit slcpl.org/glendale. For community meeting information, visit the Salt Lake City Public Library's Facebook page.

Email: rlowry@deseretnews.com

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