A year ago, my 23-year-old daughter moved to Salt Lake City, UT for an internship and the chance to experience a different regional culture other than her native Florida. In Utah, she took up hiking in the surrounding mountains and touring the amazing nearby canyons. As far as city life went, she said the cool architecture of the public library made it one of her favorite spots to hang out. Last week I visited her and made it a point to see the Main Salt Lake City Public Library designed by architect Moshe Safdie. I agree; it’s an impressive destination. So, what is it about the 240,000 square foot public library that appeals to a millennial?
The space feels connected to the city . . .
Entering the atrium-like Main City Library, one might easily mistake it for a downtown mall. Visitors follow a sidewalk and stroll past the Hemingway cafe, the local radio station, KCPW; the Salt Lake Roasting Company, The English Garden and the George Eliot Salon. The street furnishings invite readers to be part of a neighborhood of writers and artists. The space is filled with natural light, several pieces of hanging art, and the interior is efficiently cooled by evaporative air instead of refrigerated air. On this “street,” kids are encouraged to play and make all the noise they want. Inside the library, artist Karl Schlamminger installed an Attic Playroom in the children’s section.
The rooftop garden is open to the public . . .
The rooftop garden view is a spectacular event space overlooking the city. It can be rented for weddings and community gatherings. Visitors who venture up to the top floors will discover beehives enclosed behind glass barriers. Utah is known as the beehive state. Brigham Young used it to symbolize the Mormons’ industriousness.
Alternative press and graphic novel collection. . .
The library itself is a repository for cutting edge literary and visual art. It includes one of the largest collections of Zines in the world. The city has a Alt Press Fest that draws artists, musicians and writers from all over the world. My quick overview of Moshe Safdie’s building proved that it was easy to read. It communicates a friendly, neighborhood feeling.
And . . .
It’s a refuge from the urban pace, but still offers the creative vibe that appeals to all ages. I can see why my daughter likes hanging out here.