This town must love to read.
Card-carrying patrons of the American Fork Public Library aren't picky about where they can check out books. Lines of anxious Hawthorne, Hemingway and Hardy Boy fans have formed since the library moved to an abandoned warehouse for business two weeks ago.Voters last year approved a $9.2 million bond to build several new buildings and restore the city's popular book lender at 64 S. 100 East. Pending construction work at the historic library forced a move to 88 N. Church St.
Some $4.7 million of the bond will go toward the two-year project of expanding and renovating the 63-year-old building. The remodeled facility will have about three times as much room for literacy programs, study areas and shelf space.
Hundreds of volunteers, church groups and Scout troops helped librarians paint the floor and put up walls and shelves. Even more showed up to help transplant the periodicals, pulp fiction and paperbacks, said Sheena Parker, assistant director.
Two weeks elapsed before library workers christened the checkout counters at the former warehouse of the Alpine School District.
"It really was a community effort," Parker said. "We get a lot of support from the city."
Parker said the library staff worried about the feasibility of turning a dusty, vacant building with no windows into an inviting place for literary buffs and university students.
"We've had a lot of favorable comments about this place," she said. "But it looks 1,000 times better than when we first opened the doors to see if we wanted to come here."
There are some rough edges, however. For example, uncovered metal beams hanging from the roof are still encrusted with dust that drifts down onto tables, shelves and books.
One patron couldn't stop sneezing. He grabbed a box of tissue while browsing.
And even the softest voice reverberates off the concrete floors and cinder-block walls.
"You can hear people talking, even if you are in the back corner," Parker said. "But we weren't a shush-shush type of library to begin with. We never have been."
A scale model and architect's rendering of the new building is on display at the no-frills temporary location. Public meetings with the architect allowed library staffers and residents a chance to discuss requests for specific amenities.
Library hours remain 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.