North Logan's library exceeds expecations, as one-third of city owns a card
"This whole atmosphere, the building, the people, everything -- it makes it all worthwhile," said Library Director Sue Randleman.
Although construction for the $1.2 million library began a year and a half ago, plans had been under way for some time. North Logan had realized it was outgrowing the previous building, at 2076 N. 1200 East, and needed a new facility.
"We didn't have enough room for everybody," said librarian Rachelle Draney. "We didn't even have room for all of the books we had ordered."
The city contacted with contracting firm Raymond Contracting, and resident Haslem Jensen volunteered to draw up the blueprints. The city shut the doors of the old library Aug. 4 to begin transferring books and supplies, and didn't open the new facility until Nov. 2, preventing any library use for three months.
"That upset a lot of people because they thought we could open right away" said Randleman. "It was a big job, we didn't just twiddle our thumbs."
However, the wait was worthwhile. When the city celebrated the grand opening Nov. 6, the crowd was so large that the celebration had to be held at Greenville Elementary School across the street, and tours of the library given afterward, in smaller groups.
"It was a huge success," said council member Wayne Watkins.
However, that's not to say the library didn't have problems with the new building. During the transfer, the books were stored in a storage shed near the city offices, and became infested with bugs. However, the staff didn't realize it until the books had already been placed in the new building.
"It infested the whole library," said council member Trent Wentz. "We had to hire an exterminator to fumigate the building before the grand opening."
The city also had problems with the carpet, faulty security systems, air conditioning, and Internet connections.
"The problems were all fairly minor," said Draney. "They were easily taken care of."
Yet, the problems still continue. The City Council has been withholding funds from the library, funds that are rightfully theirs due to contributions and grants. Public hearings were recently held to decide the fate of these funds, and the voice was strongly in favor of the library receiving the money. But the problem hasn't been completely fixed.
"We've managed to get $26,000 added to our book budget, though," said Draney. There's also still the question of whether Hyde Park will join North Logan in ownership of the library. The city was extended an invitation before the library opened, but Hyde Park Mayor Mark Daines said the city may not have the funds.
The ownership would cost Hyde Park $110,000 a year, but it also has the option of sharing library service, like many cities do with Logan's library, for $68,000 a year. The difference between the two payments is the bond that North Logan owes.
"If they helped pay off the bond, they would likely share ownership," said Wentz.
Wentz had also suggested selling library cards to Hyde Park residents for a fee, but the idea was quickly defeated by the council.
"A library is not just for the wealthy," said Watkins.
Hyde Park likes the idea of part ownership, and plans to vote on this issue June 1, before the next fiscal year. In the meantime, they have paid $15,000 so families can use the library free until then.
But these problems are nothing to be upset over, nothing major, says the library staff. The progress the library has made more than makes up for it. The library is a beautiful building, with a dozen computers, beautiful, comfortable furniture, and many
"I love the puppet shows there," said 9-year-old Kristin Larson. "Miss Sue is so funny."
And recent statistics show the rest of the children feel the same way. Puppet show attendance has more than quadrupled since the opening, and the shows have become one of the largest programs in North Logan.
And it's not only children that love the library. The total number of check-outs during the month of March exceded 8,000, a fairly sizable amount with a population of only 6,600. And 2,096 cards have been issued, meaning 32 percent of the city residents are regular users of the library. That's not including Hyde Park's usage. "It's wonderful," said Randleman. "We have the same people here every other day, that's all they do is read."
There is only one word to describe the way North Logan feels about its library: pride. It has fast become a hot spot in the city, and all with an educational view in mind.
"It is something to be proud of," said Draney. "I've always thought if people could read, they could do or learn anything."