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S.L. Council backs idea for new library

Salt Lake library director Nancy Tessman found herself preaching to the choir this week when she presented a proposal for a new $40 million main library building to the City Council.

Consider the following comments, made after Tessman's presentation:"I'm very much in favor of building the library," Councilwoman Mary Mark.

"The quality of your public libraries sort of tells the world what you value," council chairwoman Deeda Seed.

"(The library) really needs to become the focal point of our community," Councilman Keith Christensen.

"This is very important; this should take precedence, to me, over some of these other projects" such as the I-15 reconstruction, councilwoman Joanne Milner.

You get the idea: This was not a difficult group to convince.

Tessman appeared before the council to brief members on how the process of building a new library is going, and to get its support - which she got - for a general obligation bond election next spring to finance the building, new books and expansions of the Anderson-Foothill and Sprague branch libraries.

A Salt Lake resident in a $150,000 house will see a property tax increase of $26 per year if the bond makes it through voters.

The existing library at 209 E. 500 South is 34 years old and too small for the demands placed upon it.

Last August the library's board voted to pursue a new building instead of renovating or expanding the existing structure. Design is still preliminary because much depends on how much space opens up when the courts move into the new Scott M. Matheson courts complex across State Street from the City & County Building next spring, and the jail into the new county jail, now under construction, in 1999.

The existing building will likely remain. Possible uses for it include a museum.