Skip to main content

The City Journals

Sprague Library’s Firehouse Express to open during renovations

Mar 29, 2019 10:16AM ● By Spencer Belnap

The old firestation #3 located at 1085 E. Simpson Ave. will be a smaller, temporary home of the Sprague Library while major renovations are done over the next year and a half. (Spencer W. Belnap/City Journals)

By Spencer W. Belnap | [email protected] 

Salt Lake City Library’s Sprague branch is about to undergo a major renovation and will close to the public on March 28. The renovation is anticipated to take 15 to 18 months to complete. While the Sprague is closed, the library will have a temporary space set up to serve the community, still within the main downtown area of Sugar House. Salt Lake City has agreed to lease the old fire station 3, located at 1085 E. Simpson Ave., to the library. This smaller space, dubbed the Sprague Firehouse Express, is set to open the first part of May.

Sprague staff will have one month to move some of their collection and equipment over to the Firehouse Express. They anticipate a small browsing collection and four computers for public use. Hold pick-ups will still be available at this temporary space as well. Parking at the fire station will be limited, but the Boys & Girls Club, Fairmont Aquatic Center and business lots nearby can accommodate visitors as well. This location is right at the end of the S-line, so patrons can always take TRAX as well. It will be open with limited hours, Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 

“I hadn’t heard where the temporary space would be,” Sprague patron and Sugar House resident Diane Stewart said. “It’s such a walkable community, I’m glad to hear it’ll still be so close and still have holds. I definitely plan on going to the fire station from time to time once it’s opened.” 

A few other people echoed similar sentiments outside the Sprague one early weekend in March. They all anticipate going to the Firehouse Express location while renovations are being completed. One patron was particularly glad they would still allow holds to be picked up from the temporary space as it’s still the closest option to where he lives. Another patron was glad nobody would lose their jobs. All Sprague staff will be working at the Firehouse Express or another City Library branch or a combination of multiple locations. 

“We are thrilled to have the old firehouse,” SLC Public Library Director Peter Bromberg said. “This temporary space offers great convenience and reduces the need for patrons to drive to other branches. It will offer seven day per week express access to great books, film, music, as well as public computing and expert assistance from our staff.” 

Since the last Sprague renovation update, the architectural teams of Arch Nexus and Margaret Sullivan Studio have been designing and finalizing the renovation plans. After collecting hundreds of comments and feedback from the Sugar House community last autumn, they went to work envisioning an updated library that will serve a dynamic and growing population. 

When it reopens the later part of 2020, the Sprague will still have its historical exterior in place. Inside will be a modern 21st-century library, with new fixtures, furniture, private and group spaces, and updated technology. The architectural and design teams have renovated older library spaces in other parts of the country and always rely on community feedback to help steer their overall vision and direction.