Salt Lake City Public Library

Salt Lake City Public Library

Infobox_nrhp | name =Salt Lake City Public Library

caption = An internal view of the main library
location = Salt Lake City, Utah
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added = August 7, 1979
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The Salt Lake City Public Library system's main branch building is an architecturally unique structure in Salt Lake City, Utah. Located at 210 East 400 South across from the Salt Lake City and County Building and Washington Square, and the grounds around the building is sometimes referred to as Library Square.


The Salt Lake City main library (801-524-8200)is a 240,000 ft² (22,300 ) five-story tall, wedge-shaped building. The library has a collection of over 500,000 books as well as subscriptions to over 60 newspapers and magazines and 163 internet capable computers.

The structure includes 44,960 yd³ (34,370 ) of concrete as well as 176,368 ft² (16,385 m²) of glass. One of its most striking features is the five-story curved glass wall.

Outside the library is Library Square, a landscaped and paved plaza. Originally, much of what is now landscaped open space was to be out buildings, but Mayor Rocky Anderson asked for these to be left out and create a public park. There are several shops on the square as well as the studios of radio station KCPW. Library Square is paved with limestone from Israel.

Upon entering the five story building, one enters the "Urban Room", which has the same limestone paving as the square. The room extends for all five floors and ends with a 20,000 ft² (1860 m²) skylight. More shops line one side of the Urban Room.

A rooftop garden completes the structure. It is planted with trees, grasses, flowering bulbs and various perennial plants.

The whole library depends on natural lighting, reducing the need of lights in the library. A huge five story glass wall is where most of the light comes from.

Other features of the library include:
* Spiraling fireplaces which occur on four of the floors and were designed to resemble a column of fire as viewed from 200 East and 400 South.
* A "lens" on the south side of the building which helps to warm the building during the winter, saves on heating costs.
* An art gallery displaying works of local artists.
* Coffee Shop with a "private staircase" which gives direct access to the Young Adult's Section.
* Children's library.
* Spiral "grand staircase" and three glass elevators.
* One of the largest, if not the largest, graphic novel collection in a public library. This is due in part to Night Flight Comics being located in Library Square and making numerous donations.
* The oldest and largest zine collection in a public library. Currently the collection has about 6,000 zines, 15 subscriptions, and a number of reference books
*The library has also won Library Journal's 2006 library of the year award.

1994 Hostage Incident

On March 7, 1994, a gunman took several hostages in a conference room on the second floor of the old main branch building, now a cultural center. The library was evacuated and SWAT teams were called in during a six-hour siege, which ended in the death of the gunman and the freeing of the hostages.

2006 explosion

On September 15, 2006, a small bomb exploded in the third floor of the main building. No one was hurt, and the damage sustained by the building was a broken window. Eastbound traffic on the streets of 400 South and 200 East was closed as 400 people were forced to evacuate. [cite web|url=|title=Salt Lake Tribune|accessmonthday=September 19 |accessyear=2006|publisher=Salt Lake Tribune]


* Designed by the same architect, the downtown Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library has a very similar design. This is clearly apparent in the main foyer and the sweeping outer facade.
* The popular television show The Amazing Race featured Salt Lake City and surrounding areas in their 8th season. The Salt Lake City main library was used as a checkpoint for contestants during their visit.
* The 2006 comedy film "Unaccompanied Minors" was filmed in the lobby of the main branch to simulate the airport lounge seen in the movie.


External links

* [ SLC Library Main Page]
* [ "USA Today" article on SLC Main Library]
* [ "Archidose" article on the library]
* [ Salt Lake County] at [ National Register of Historic Places]

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