Shhh… Little-known Library Secrets

Hey! You! Over here! Did you know that writing in italics is a way to convey you are whispering? And if you’re wondering why we’re whispering, it’s because we’re going to let you in on some little-known library secrets.

Art Collection: “The library has a very fine art collection that includes a Pony Express sculpture by prolific 20th century sculptor Avard T. Fairbanks and a signed letter from Harper Lee that you can see at Administration in the upstairs south wing.”

Art Shows: “I love that the library has rotating art shows in the children’s wing. It’s so fun to look at the different shows and to talk about the art with patrons, kids, or friends.”

Book Group Sets: “Not everyone knows you can check out book group sets for six weeks. Each of our 150+ book group sets comes with 12 copies of the book and most have discussion guides.”

Closed Stacks: “Some of the books in our closed stacks collection are the most beautiful and extraordinary texts you’ll ever see. I love finding really gorgeous giant picture books like A Lion in Paris by Beatrice Alemagna in children’s closed stacks. In the adult closed stacks, check out the expensive facsimile edition of The Red Book by Carl Jung.”

Color Fun: “Recently we’ve started putting out coloring mandalas, patterns that symbolize wholeness in Buddhist and Hindu tradition, on the round table downstairs by the teen section. It’s a great way to free up your mind and relax from studying.”

Media Collection: “We have one of the best media collections in the state, including new releases and many hard-to-find foreign films, silent films, classics, etc. We have Jerry Garcia’s favorite movie, a strange 1965 Polish film called ‘The Saragossa Manuscript.’ We also have about 100 vinyl records and the best Krautrock collection of any library in the universe.”

PERC: “PERC (Parent Education Resource Center) is an awesome organization in the library’s north wing basement that serves parents, educators, and families with a collection of over 10,000 books/educational games/DVDs/CDs/CD-Roms. They also do a teen game program every summer.”

Secret Lives of Librarians: “Our library staff is diverse and includes people with a lot of talents/interests! One of our librarians played guitar in various rock and roll bands for 15 years. Another is a licensed massage therapist. Another is a yoga teacher. Another has traveled to Hungary, China, and Denmark. Another has Olympic runners in his family and did competitive running. Another has a PhD in archaeology from Oxford and does archaeological work every summer. Another has released two or three CDs of electronica music. Another is a nationally ranked dog trainer in obedience trial championships. Two of our librarians published a book last year on puppetry called Dressing the Naked Hand. The list goes on…”

Stained Glass Windows: “The stained glass is no secret, but I didn’t realize how huge a project it was—5,000 pieces of antique glass that took four artists a year and a half to create! The librarians upstairs have handouts about the history of the windows and the different fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters you can find.”

Study Area: “A lot of people don’t know that the outside courtyard area downstairs is open whenever the library is open and anyone can sit on the benches and read, study, or enjoy the outdoors.”

Tumbleweeds Program: “Tumbleweeds is a program from Utah Film Center that brings animated, documentary, and live-action films from around the world for kids and families every month. The library shows a film on the second Saturday of every month at 2 pm and there’s always free popcorn!”

Universal Class Database: “You can take over 500 teacher-guided classes for free (go to > E-Research > All Databases > Universal Class). The classes include Writing a Business Plan, Landscaping, Cake Decorating, Investing, and many more.”

You Wrote a Book About What?: “Whenever I don’t know what I’m in the mood to read, I can always find something funny, weird, or interesting on the ‘You Wrote a Book About What?’ shelf by the pyramid display in the adult area.”

Got any library secrets to share? Tell us in the comments.


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