Downtown Library Books Off-Limits Until February

Downtown Library Books Off-Limits Until February

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News Specialist John Hollenhorst reportingYou may have noticed a spectacular new landmark taking shape downtown. In just a month it will be the new home of the Salt Lake City Library.

And that means big changes for library patrons beginning just a week from Monday.

If you're a library junkie, you're going to have trouble getting a book fix downtown for a while.

The main collection will be off-limits for four weeks. If you've had to move your household before, you may sympathize. Imagine having to move a half-million items.

The new building may not be done, but it's getting there. And it's already an architectural eye-opener. A massive curving, leaning, structure called the Crescent Wall seems certain to become one of downtown's most talked-about destinations.

Now comes the hard part. Moving the old library into the new one. In a normally quiet -- very quiet business -- this is about as exciting as it gets.

"Yeah, it doesn't get much harder, or more complicated. But it's fun," says Anne Menzies, a capital improvements manager for the project.

The first thing patrons need to know is: if they want to pick out a book during the four-week move, they'll have to get something from one of the branch libraries. The downtown library will be closed, except for the circulation desk.

"The main library's collection will be completely unavailable," says Dana Tumpowsky with the Salt Lake City library system.

All the books will be moved. And while they're in between buildings, they'll all be vacuumed to get rid of dust.

In the new building, the public collection will be much bigger, more than 50 percent bigger. That's because they're adding thousands of items there wasn't room for in the old building. And there are tens of thousands of new items that library patrons asked for.

"They wanted more of everything. The books, the A-V, the magazines. And they wanted not only more titles, but they wanted greater depth, greater scope," Menzies says.

But, can the library folks really meet the deadline that's just over a month away?

"There's a lot of work to do. But we're bringing in a library relocation company. This is what they do. They move libraries. They have a plan, they have an action plan. And we're opening February 8th," Tumpowsky says.

Since the circulation desk will remain open through the move, you'll still be able to come here to drop off books or get a library card or, well, to pay your fines.

But starting a week from tomorrow, there will be no book browsing downtown until that big day on February 8th.

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