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The City Journals

New Kearns library is a welcoming space to work on all kinds of projects

Feb 22, 2021 11:26AM ● By Alison Brimley

Open plans and colorful design welcome patrons to the newly opened Kearns library branch. (Photo courtesy Jeff Buydos)

By Alison Brimley | [email protected]

If the thought of visiting the library conjures up images of solitary reading and shushing librarians, the new Kearns branch of the Salt Lake County Library has some surprises in store for you. Featuring a podcast recording studio, bicycle repair area and even artificial intelligence robots, the library has something for everyone, no matter their interests.

The new Kearns branch, located at 4275 West 5345 South, opened to the public last December. The new facility “houses some of the coolest things in our entire library system,” boasts a recent Instagram post from the library. 

The old branch closed in December of 2018. In April of 2019, ground was broken for the new building. Initially, the plan was to open to the public in early fall of 2020. The ongoing pandemic did cause delays, primarily in the supply chain of some unique materials such as garage-style doors and oversized pivoting doors. 

Instead, the branch had a soft opening in December of 2020, “just to make sure everything went smoothly with the opening,” said Sara M.K. Neal, County Library marketing and communications manager. 

The original Kearns branch opened in 1964, and Kearns has grown a lot since then. 

“The building had served the community well for many years, but it was small for the neighborhood it serves and really needed some upgrades,” Neal said. The library collaborated with Kearns Township and the community council to “identify new ways the library could serve the community, both in terms of the physical size and space of the building but also with the collection and technology that would be housed there.” 

The biggest difference patrons of the new library will notice is likely the size of the space. At 35,000 square feet, the new Kearns branch is three times larger than the old location. Abundant natural light and high ceilings make the space feel open and welcoming. The walls are decorated with murals depicting life in Kearns. 

“The collection of materials is larger as well, and we hope the community has fun finding new books, music and movies,” said Neal.

In addition to a large media collection and quiet study areas, the library features a kitchen for culinary arts, teen gaming area, sewing machine, VR goggles, a Glowforge 3D wood cutter, a sublimation printer and much more.

One of the more unique features is the library’s extensive Create space, where patrons will be able to “use cutting-edge technology as well as traditional tools to explore different paths of creativity,” said Neal. Due to coronavirus restrictions, Create spaces and meeting rooms are not currently available for use.

County Library branches are currently open to the public for visits of 30 minutes or less, and masks are required. Library hours remain limited; the branch is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

“We continue to work with the mayor’s office and the Health Department for suggestions and guidelines on what services are appropriate to offer,” Neal said.