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Highland library nearly completed

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HIGHLAND — Book lovers in Highland are just months away from having a haven in their own backyard.

Highland expects to open its own city library this fall with completion of the new City Hall and library near the main shopping area.

Since the city's conception more than 30 years ago, residents have had to travel to other libraries in Utah County.

The estimated cost for beginning the library's collection was $300,000. Volunteers have been asking for donations to help contribute toward opening of the library for the past few months. Families and individuals who meet certain donation amounts will be recognized as part of the "library family" within a room of plaques in the library. Thus far the "library family" has received nearly $40,000 in donations.

Highland will spend nearly $90,000 initially, and an announcement was expected during a recent City Council Meeting that the Bank of American Fork has promised to match the city's donations of up to $150,000.

But the issue was taken off the City Council agenda because of some concerns with the contract.

"Some of the council members expressed that there are a few questions on the details of the contract," said library board chairwoman Stephanie Thacker. "We thought they were worked out on all sides, but apparently there are a couple of concerns that have been brought up."

Highland Mayor Jay Franson said that it was more of a timing issue.

"We try to run a tight City Council meeting, and we thought it would be best if we pull it for a couple of weeks and get everyone's concerns addressed," said Franson.

"It is one of the most interesting experiences as a professional librarian that I have had," said director Kent Slade, who was hired several months ago. "Starting a new library has an impact on generations to come as far as how it is organized and put together."

Slade has worked part-time to help get ready for the opening. He will begin his full-time duties next month as he assembles and preps the 20,000 to 25,000 volumes for the library.

City Council member Claudia Stillman said a 2006 survey indicated that 73 percent of the respondents wanted a library.

"Now almost two years later, it is very gratifying to me as a member of the Highland City Council to see that desire realized," said Stillman.

E-mail: ethomas@desnews.com