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Eagle Mountain celebrates library's reopening

Sen. Bob Bennett reads "Abe Lincoln: The Boy who Loved Books" at the expanded library.
Sen. Bob Bennett reads "Abe Lincoln: The Boy who Loved Books" at the expanded library.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Before this week, Eagle Mountain children didn't have a place of their own for story time.

"We've been having story time in the City Council chambers," said Eagle Mountain library director Michele Graves.

On Monday, after three years of planning and more than three months of renovations, the Eagle Mountain Public Library reopened with double the space and $120,000 in savings.

"The whole addition we've added on will be our children's area," Graves said. "We'll be able to have story time in our library."

Hundreds of unopened books are on the shelves, waiting to be opened. New computers haven't been turned on; plastic-wrapped games haven't been played with.

"We had about $20,000 to use (on books)," Graves said. "I'm still spending, and we still have money left."

The books, computers and furnishings came via a $1,000 grant from Target and $95,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The latter was sponsored by Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and came through the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. The city expects to receive another $100,000 grant next year through the same appropriation.

While the inventory and furnishings came through grants, the building's infrastructure was paid for by the city's capital improvement fund.

Eagle Mountain's building department served as the contractor on the library, coming in $70,000 under the lowest bid from outside contractors. At the end of the project, the department came in $50,000 under budget.

"This was a good place for us to save money in the current economy and accomplish the council's main goal for the last budget season," Mayor Heather Jackson said.

But the library plans to spend every dollar from its grants. And more books and space mean more people will be able to enjoy the facility.

"We probably see between 50 and 75, maybe 100 people per day," Graves said. "Now that we're larger, more people will come in out of curiosity."

Graves plans to use the extra grant money to research and purchase a secure self-checkout program for the library.

"It will make inventory a lot easier; checking in and out will be a lot quicker," she said. "The library's going to be more of a destination now rather than something they're coming to do for schoolwork."

Eagle Mountain plans to spend the $120,000 savings on other public projects.

"It may be a park project," Jackson said. "We're not sure. We may not spend it within this year, and keep it in savings for the next year."

The Eagle Mountain Public Library was created a decade ago and has been in its current building since 2005. Since then, the city's population has doubled in size, according to city administrator John Hendrickson.

"We just needed more space," Hendrickson said. "We think it's taken up the use and functionality of the library another fairly good notch."