Like the famous slickrock surrounding the area, the Grand County Public Library in Moab is slick (“operates in an impressively smooth, efficient, and apparently effortless way”), especially considering how much it depends on grants and volunteers.
Adjacent to the city hall and a number of playing fields, the facility is deceptively large, with xeriscaped grounds appropriate for this high desert climate. A little below street level, wrapping around a corner to form an “L”, an outdoor area with several tables is protected from the wind, though the near constant sunlight makes it a bit hard to read your computer screen.
With Arches and Canyonlands National Parks close by, the snow capped mountains of Manti-La Sal National Forest to the east and south, fabulous biking and hiking trails, the rapids of the raging Colorado River and some of the most impossible four wheeling trails ever,
Moab is a mecca for adventure seekers who strained the limited resources of the library. But with grants, UT State Library provided resources, wonderful town support and volunteering plus a huge helping of ingenuity, an amazing resource was created for this small town. Voted Library Journal’s Best Small Library in 2007, it’s got a number of environmental touches – thick walls, low-emittance windows and an overhanging roof reduce the impact of the scorching sun. The HVAC system is geothermal and carpeting and walls use recycled materials. Solar panels (a no-brainer here) reduce energy use by 15%.
Inside, the lobby reflects the ruddy landscape and offers 3 guest quickie email computers, a large meeting room (with stacks of cushions to augment the chairs – great idea for times when the only other choices are standing or sitting on the cold hard floor), and a giant book cart displaying the cream of the book sale crop.
As you enter they’ve cleverly placed handouts on notary, fax, internet etc. services in town and have a big rack with genre bookmarks, local help organizations etc. Two service desks close by make help easy to find and famous mountaineer Yvon Chouinard’s collection of climbing materials together with an awe inspiring photo of a rock climber remind you of the incredible place you are in (as do the views of red cliffs from almost every window).
I got to meet Cynthia, Tom, Adrea and Carrie (see caption in above pic for titles etc. – Carrie’s the director of this wonderful place) – everyone was so friendly and helpful and justifiably proud of how they’ve been able to stretch their tiny budget to cover the needs of 9000 or so residents plus huge numbers of tourists.
The library has a teen area (above) and a Spanish collection as well as a small conference room that’s open to the public and an assistive technology room. They’ve got wifi and over 50 public computers.
I really love the furniture – there are two of these wavy cushioned benches.
And the blonde wood furniture has a cool light feel.
There are lots of gorgeous photos, art and sculpture.
It’s got a very modern aura and the eye is always being drawn to something. I love the exposed ironwork, pipes etc on the ceiling.
The Children’s Area has eight of their own computers and these cardboard boats that are worn by library staff during local parades 🙂 (There’s a cardboard boat race at Ken’s Lake – Charlotte Hurley, the Head of Children and Teen Services told me last time a Viking ship managed to survive to give kids rides on it.)
There’s even a specifically designated area for toddlers – something I’ve never seen before. They’ve got a dollhouse, racetrack, this cool castle bed a father made for his child, plus a kitchen where often four or five boys will make “dinner” for their moms. All this is great for early literacy skills.
But I think the cutest thing of all were the six toddler computers with teeny tiny chairs and CPUs. Two of them have AWE.
What a beautiful library-it truly is Moab’s living room. Despite the fabulous scenery and hikes waiting outside it was hard to tear myself away.