For the last entry in this series highlighting the history of the Salt Lake County Library System, we are featuring several libraries. It was difficult to choose from the many great library branches, but we decided to grant reader requests and also show the history of some of the old branches.
Starting with a library branch that many readers may be familiar with: East Mill Creek Library. This branch opened in 1949 as a wing of a new fire station. It was remodeled in 1959. As a history of the Library System printed in 1989 notes: “The architecture at the front of the building is wide because it originally housed the driveway for the fire engines.”
A branch that you may not be as familiar with was the Arthur E. Peterson Library. The first Arthur E. Peterson branch opened in 1960 in a house on Sego Lily Drive in Sandy. Named after a member of the Library Board, the branch moved to a new building in December 1978 and operated until it was replaced in 1991 by the Sandy Library.
Another library with humble beginnings was the Calvin S. Smith branch, named after the superintendent of the Granite School District who helped to establish the Library System. He also served on the library board for 20 years. The library started in a store front in 1943, and was moved in to a surplus World War II PX store in 1947. It operated there until a new site opened in 1956.
Located in a canyon on the far western side of the Salt Lake Valley, the Bingham Library was started in the city hall in 1920 by the Women’s Civic Club. In 1939, the Salt Lake County Library System took over the library and in 1944 moved it to a large store building on Main Street in Bingham Canyon.
Campbell, Carolyn (1989) A Historical Retrospective of the Salt Lake County Library System in Celebration of Fifty Years of Public Service, 1939-1989.
Salt Lake County Library Scrapbooks, 1944-1959. Salt Lake County Archives.
Tyler, Ruth Vine. (1970) Salt Lake County Library System History, 1938-1970.