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Downtown Library Could Stay Open All Day, Every Day

Photo of the salt lake city downtown library
Brian Grimmett

Imagine dropping by the Salt Lake City Main Library to pick up a book after a graveyard shift or watching the sun rise through the glass façade as you study for a big exam. This might be possible early next year if library officials move forward with a plan to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It began with the hope of giving homeless teens a place to go over night. Library Director John Spears says while the library can’t provide beds, it can be an overnight refuge for many.

“What we are providing is the exact same thing as what we provide during the day,” Spears says. “A warm, safe environment where people can utilize the full resources of the Salt Lake City Public Library.”

Spears says only the first and second levels would be open to the public late at night.  Private donations would cover the approximately $650,000 per year expansion which will require about 25 new employees, including librarians, assistants and security.  For those who worry the new hours would create a de facto homeless shelter, Spears says he has one hope.

“People will see representatives from every segment of the community here and not just those that they choose to see,” Spears says. “We serve everyone and everyone is served. That’s something that we’re very proud of.”

Library officials presented the idea to the Salt Lake City Council Tuesday night. They must first sign off on the proposal. 

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