By Alicia Facer
SMITHFIELD—The town’s 93-year-old Carnegie Library on Main Street is getting a $1.44 million two-story, 5,600-square-foot expansion.
One major concern for residents and council members was keeping the historic building intact.
“It’s been in the community since the 1920s,” said City Council member Barbara Kent. “We have a lot of sentimental feelings about it.”
Renovation and expansion of the library has been a topic of discussion for many years, said Kent, a former library board member.
The two-story addition will be built behind the current library will connect to the existing building by a brick breezeway. Each story will be approximately 2,800 hundred square feet.
The breezeway will have no windows so that librarians have a place to hang artwork that needs to be away from sunlight.
The top floor of the new structure will hold special collections, to keep the daylight away from damaging any of the artifacts. There also will be an area for study rooms, said Skyline Architecture manager Kelly Christoffersen.
“Downstairs will have work rooms, restrooms, elevator and equipment rooms,” Christoffersen said.
The current library is not easily accessible for wheelchairs or strollers. The new building will be equipped with ramps making it available to everyone in the community. There will also be a parking lot so residents will no longer have to park on the street and get their children out on the road.
“We have really wanted to make it so that the moms with strollers don’t have to walk through the slush, this new addition will allow a parking lot by the entrance,” Kent said.
There are 17 Carnegie buildings in Utah, with 10 still operating as libraries.
“The money is coming from two sources,” said City Manager Jim Gass. “The city is putting up $440,000. The other $960,000 is coming from a loan from the Community Impact Board that will be paid back over a 30-year period at 1 percent interest rate.”
Children services librarian Karen Bowling has worked at the Smithfield library for 18 years, and has been a part of the renovation plans. She is excited about the opportunities the new addition will bring.
“I am so excited, this is long overdue,” Bowling said. “We’ve been pushing for this for the last 10 years.”
The new addition is being built with the option to expand even farther, should the library need more space, something Bowling sees could be an issue in the future.
“My biggest concern is that we will do all these renovations and we still won’t have enough room,” Bowling said. “We are being very conservative and trying to do this in a fiscally responsible way.”
The library will need additional staff; a minimal of three part-time employees could be added said Bowling.
Christoffersen plans on going out to bid for construction – a process where contractors take the documents and price it, then put together a number for the cost to build it – on Feb. 21.
“I think this is going to be a huge benefit and I think it’s going to bring in a lot of people because of the accessibility,” Bowling said. “Having a new big library will remind people that, ‘yeah, this is a community building that has a lot to offer.’”