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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

South Mountain Community Library Opening

After nearly two years of construction, the doors at South Mountain Community Library, a joint operation between Phoenix Public Library and South Mountain Community College, have opened.


Last month, as classes began at South Mountain Community College, the library started its soft opening so faculty, students and the community could preview all the amenities.


“I think shock and awe was the architect’s goal, and they’ve been very successful because people walk in, they look up and their mouths drop open,” said Amy MacPherson, SMCC’s division chair, Library and Teaching and Learning Center. It’s been interesting to see people who come in for the first time – they’re like kids in a candy store.”


An official grand opening for the 51,000-square-foot facility, which is one of only a handful of libraries nationwide that represent a partnership between a college and city, is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 24.


In addition to a collection of more than 90,000 items, the library offers a children’s room and teen space, community meeting room, study rooms, and 95 public computers with Internet access. “The Edge” computer lab is the largest of all Phoenix Public Library branches.


“It’s an open computing space, but we have specialized areas for just children and teens,” MacPherson said.


The early literacy computers for kids include dozens of educational programs on topics such as reading, geography, math, typing and anatomy. A story time for kids is also scheduled to begin later this month.


For the college’s library staff, the transition to a kid-friendly facility is new because the original library didn’t allow unaccompanied minors.


“It’s different to have so many kids all over the place,” MacPherson added. “Fortunately, we have lots of resources. The kids know where all the cool stuff is.”


Some of those “cool” items include hundreds of CDs, DVDs and audio books, as well as a multimedia studio for recording audio and videos. The library also offers free Wi-Fi and will soon open a café – with interior and exterior patios – serving coffee, tea and snacks.


During the library’s first four days, more than 1,000 materials were circulated. MacPherson expects that number to rise considerably as people in the surrounding community realize the library is open.


She’s particularly excited about area residents taking advantage of the library’s location on a college campus.


“We’re going to have kids who come here for story time, and then they’re going to come to the college and use the library as teenagers – and play videos games, use computers and check out books,” MacPherson said. “Then when they get ready for high school, it’s going to be a no-brainer that they go to college because they’ve been going to college their whole life.”


South Mountain Community Library is open from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.


Designed by richärd + bauer, llc. and constructed by Haydon Building Corp., the library was funded through the 2006 Citizens Bond Program and the 2004 Maricopa Community College District Bond Program.

Written by Tom Thrush


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