Provo library to open later than planned

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    By Erika Beecham

    Construction and safety delays have set back the opening of the new Provo City Library at Academy Square to mid-August.

    “It”s very normal, this is my third library in eight years, and at all of them this has happened,” said Gene Nelson, director of the Provo library.

    Nelson said since his first day on the job four years ago, the new library at Academy Square has been on his mind.

    “We”re anxious to show it off to everyone,” Nelson said.

    The original opening date was set for May. One of the biggest delays in the past was associated with problems with the original foundation of the library, Nelson said.

    Now, a few emerging problems are delays in shipment and hardware, he said.

    “Most of it”s just odds and ends and things that have to be finished,” Nelson said.

    The exact date of the opening of the library is difficult to pinpoint because of safety issues, said Jared Backman, Jacobsen construction”s engineer heading the project.

    “It”s hard to say because we can complete the list that we have now and request another inspection by the city, and they can come and pass everything off, but they might find something else and say, well, now we need to fix this,” Backman said.

    Nelson said although there has been a delay in the opening, the library has met all of its commitments.

    Four wedding receptions were held at the library last week and the ballroom, kitchen and part of the second floor were completed in time for the reception, he said.

    “Everybody pushed in and got the parts open that we needed,” Nelson said.

    Provo”s public library on Center St. closed on June 6th.

    In June, the Orem Public Library felt the effects of Provo”s closing, said Tamara Starr, associate circulation librarian at the Orem library.

    “We registered 1,144 new patrons to our library and that”s up from 674 last year, so that”s almost a 70 percent increase,” Starr said.

    Starr said that the library has tried to accommodate all the new patrons without exceeding their budget.

    “When we can, we”ve tried to bring in extra people because we have been really, really busy and people have had to wait in line to check out,” Starr said.

    Provo library”s old location on Center Street reopened on Monday, Aug. 6, to give out prizes to children who participated in their summer reading program, Nelson said.

    Other library services are not yet available at either location.

    “We had anticipated by the time the reading program was over this summer we would be in the new building,” Nelson said.

    So far, about 200 children came to collect their prizes which range from a free kid”s meal at a restaurant to a roller skating pass, said Carla Morris, head of the Provo library children”s department.

    The children”s department is looking forward to the opening of the library and added four new programs that will begin at the new location, Morris said.

    “We would be ready to open tomorrow except for there”s a lot of little details that need to be worked out with the building,” Morris said.

    Sept. 8 is the grand opening of the library, Nelson said. Library services should begin about two weeks prior to that, he said.

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