Salt Lake City Public Library
The main branch building of the Salt Lake City Public Library system is an aesthetically unusual facility in Salt Lake City, UT. It’s across the street from the Salt Lake City and County Building and Washington Square, at 210 East and 400 South.
The main library in Salt Lake City is a five-story wedge-shaped building with a floor area of 240,000 square feet (22,000 m2). Library Square, a manicured and paved square that encompasses the city block, houses the structure. Outbuildings were supposed to cover a lot of what is now a public park, but Salt Lake City’s mayor at the time the library was finished asked that they be taken down so that a public park could be built instead.
In 1898, the library was moved to the Salt Lake City and County Building. A new library was erected in downtown Salt Lake City thanks to a land and money contribution by John Quackenbos Packard in 1900; the building is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. Until the library outgrew it in the early 1960s, this structure continued in use.
The city library was then relocated to a new location at the junction of 500 South and 200 East, across from the City and County Building. The building was dedicated on October 30, 1964, after a groundbreaking ceremony on December 28, 1962.
Following the library’s 100th anniversary celebrations in early 1998, an $84 million library bond was approved to transfer the library to its current location in a new facility half a block north.
The Salt Lake City Public Library has an excellent heraldic collection as well as a better-than-average Western Americana collection, which includes volumes about Mormons and other ethnic pioneers. It has over 500,000 books, subscriptions to over 60 periodicals and magazines, a huge digital library with a lot of different services, and 163 internet-enabled computers in it.
A 19th century volume of John James Audubon’s Birds of America, purchased by the library in 1903, is an important piece in the collection. The duplicate is from a subsequent run commissioned by Audubon’s son John in the 1850s, rather than an original print. The copy’s images are not hand-colored, as they were in the initial edition, but they represent an early example of the then-revolutionary process of chromolithography.
They take advantage of the interlibrary loan program. Some of their notable genealogical databases are HeritageQuest Online, The Pioneer (Utah’s online library), Utah Digital Newspapers, and Digital Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps, 1865–1970.