Local libraries highlight National Library Week – Cache Valley Daily

Jessica Martin the Director the Menon City Library looks over books recently checked in at The Mendon City Library on Wednesday April 5, 2022.

MENDON – The American Library Association (ALA) kicked off National Library Week starting Monday, April 4 and ends Friday, April 8. This year the organization is highlighting the challenges US libraries faced in the second year of the pandemic – as well as the ways they innovated to meet the needs of their communities.

Mendon City Library moved to the new city office building in 2015.

Cache Valley has 12 public libraries in communities as far south as Hyrum and north to Richmond.

Jessica Martin, Director the Mendon City Library, said their library is the newest to be certified by the Utah State Library Division, making them the 60th library to be certified.

We are the latest library to get the certification the last one was 10 years ago,” Martin said. ”There are a list of requirements and we had to meet to become certified.”

The standards for libraries are set by a committee of public library directors to ensure all certified libraries offer the most current of library services, follow the law, and best practices.

“Certification shows we provide excellent library service,” she said. It also opens up more funding opportunities.”

“We are fairly recent a public library we opened in 2015 when they built the city offices,” Martin said. “I was named the director in September 2020.”

Jessica Martin the Director the Menon City Library and librarian Abby DeCoursey check circulation numbers on Wednesday April 5, 2022.

The evaluating committee was impressed with the support shown by Mendon city officials and the community in general.

“What I’ve found is that in order to become successful we need to be actively involved in the community,” she said. “We have lots of programs for the community, we even create food drives.”

The Mendon City Library also offers audio books and computer services like the 11 other community libraries in the valley.

Although one of the first public libraries in the United States was built as a subscription service by Benjamin Franklin as early as 1731, Andrew Carnegie changed library access throughout the country.

Lora Smith, the director of the Richmond Library, said we often take for granted our local libraries and all the good things they do for our families and communities.

“The world of local libraries hardly existed just over a century ago,” she said. “Andrew Carnegie donated $56 million to build and launch what would become the most significant phase of public-library development in Utah and throughout the country.”

Jessica Martin the Director the Menon City Library leans against a book shelf in the library on Tuesday April 5, 0222. She has been the library’s director since 2020.

Carnegie, an industrialist and philanthropist, donated more than $56 million to build some 2,500 libraries worldwide, including 1,679 in the US and 23 in Utah.

“Most were built in the first two decades of the 20th century and most were in small towns,” Smith said. “Sixteen Carnegie libraries still stand in Utah, all of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places in recognition of their role in promoting literacy, public education in Utah.”

His funded libraries provided improved and expanded library services in the communities in which they were built. Many communities never had libraries of much substance prior to the Carnegie program.

“The new Carnegie libraries helped establish standards of library operation and building design that persisted for decades,” Smith said. “The Carnegie library program, which ended in 1917, was the only sustained library building movement in Utah until the 1950s and ’60s.”

While Carnegie funds paid for the construction of the buildings, communities where they were built were required to provide the books and annual budgets for maintaining the libraries.

The Menon City Library was the latest library to be certified by the Utah State Library Division making them the 60th Library to be certified in the state.

This contributed significantly to the widespread acceptance of local government responsibility for public libraries.,” Smith said. “In celebration of National Library Week and Utah’s Archeology and Historic history Preservation Month, the Department of Community and Cultural Engagement invites you to visit your local historic Carnegie Library.”

The Richmond Public Library located at 38 W. Main was constructed in 1913-14. The Brigham City located at 26 E. Forest St. was constructed in 1915 and the Smithfield Library located at 25 Main St. was built in 1921-1922. The Garland Public Library 86 W. Factory Drive was built in 1914.

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