CORONAVIRUS

Salt Lake City Public Libraries Opening After Year-Long Pandemic Closure

Mar 9, 2021, 6:44 PM | Updated: 9:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – With infection rates decreasing and vaccinations increasing, Salt Lake City libraries are opening up again. They’ve been closed for the past year because of COVID-19 concerns.

Even with all its history, you might not know about the Chapman Branch in the Poplar Grove area, just west of Interstate 15 on 900 South. 

“This building is a hundred years old,” said branch director Patty Steed. “It’s the only Carnegie building in Salt Lake City.”

Funded by a grant from the Carnegie Foundation and built in 1918, the library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

The shelves are original. Same for the windows.

“I’m very proud of this place. I think it’s kind of a secret,” said Steed.

However, sometimes even history could use a little updating. 

Workers were busy installing new internet lines Tuesday in advance of opening Monday for the first time in a year.

“We’re very excited,” said Steed. “We’re excited to see our community back in our space.” 

All Salt Lake City public libraries have been closed because of COVID-19 concerns.

Starting Monday, officials said  the libraries will open again for express service – which means limited browsing, the ability to pick up books on hold, reference help inside, and 60 minutes of internet browsing on the computers.

Steed said she can’t wait. 

“It’s a gathering place and we really do miss our friends in the community,” she said.

Located in Salt Lake City’s west side, the Chapman Branch has served a community as diverse as possibly any other in the city.   

“Both ethnically and economically, and we do what we can and offer services to try and meet the needs of those people,” said Steed.

When the libraries closed last year, Steed said it hurt.

“It’s tough, because we’re real passionate about serving our community,” she said. “It’s been kind of sad for us to not be able to say come on in.”

During the summer, a west side church opened for people just to use the internet.

Many needed it to email others, apply for jobs, or just research topics they’re interested about.

“I correspond with people. I do research. I belong to groups and I do family history,” said Allene Dotson at the time.

Still, there’s nothing like being in your old neighborhood library. In a few days, that old feeling will be new again.

“We think of ourselves as being our community’s living room, so you can come in and be comfortable here. Be safe here,” said Steed.

Only the Sprague Firehouse Express library will remain closed, though people can still use that branch for curbside pickup.

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE - Comirnaty, a new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination booster for COVID-19, is displayed at a pharmac...

Jen Christensen, CNN

The FDA tells COVID-19 vaccine makers to update shot to target newest variant

The US Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it had advised the makers of the Covid-19 vaccines to formulate their new shots to be a better match for the JN.1 lineage of the coronavirus.

10 days ago

(FILE) A test dummy getting hit by an air bag during a crash test....

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Thousands of cars equipped with faulty airbags on Utah roads as automakers issues ‘Do Not Drive’ warnings

Auto manufacturers have recalled over millions of Takata airbags because of their potential to explode and shoot out sharp metal fragments. And there are still thousands of those in cars across Utah.

13 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 03: Dr. Anthony Fauci, former Director of the National Institute of Allergy a...

Lauran Neergaard, AP Medical Writer

Fauci testifies publicly before House panel on COVID origins, controversies

Dr. Anthony Fauci is facing heated questioning from Republican lawmakers about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

14 days ago

A sign reminding Copper Hills High School students and staff to keep their hands clean during the c...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah school districts working to prioritize what stays when COVID relief money runs dry

Utah's school districts are working to figure out how they will continue to pay for programs propped up by COVID-19 relief funds.

1 month ago

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

3 months ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Salt Lake City Public Libraries Opening After Year-Long Pandemic Closure