Carnegie Library Series: Richmond Carnegie Library connecting with the community

Jamie Hancock, an assistant librarian at the Richmond library re-shelves children's books as part of her responsibilities while patrons use the internet behind her.

RICHMOND – Richmond Carnegie Library, located at 38 West Main, opened in 1914 and was one of 23 libraries underwritten by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in Utah. Carnegie gave the city $8,000 to build the library.

There has not been many changes in the Richmond Library which opened in 1914 and was one of 23 libraries underwritten by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in Utah.

The Richmond Library is one of the 10 Utah Carnegie libraries still in use. It has had no major modifications since its original construction. One of the issues with a 106-year old building is that it was not built for people with physical disabilities.

The library director, Lora Smith, said they haven’t added anything to the top floor, but the bottom has been used for other purposes over the years.

“We have a preschool and baby story time and a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program,” Smith said. “We also have presentations on different subjects in the evenings.”

This year, the library had several evening presentations on different topics, including places to hike in Cache Valley, gardening by Mark Anderson of Anderson Feed, and finances. During Black and White Days there was a presentation on panning for gold and chipping arrowheads. The library also hosted a suicide prevention presentation by a certified Question-Persuade-Refer counselor. Participation varies depending on the presentation.

“My main focus is, we may be small, but we want to meet the needs of our community,” said Smith. “Right now, we deliver books to a few people, we don’t have a lot that let us do that.”

Jamie Hancock, an assistant librarian of the Richmond library checks out a book for a patron recently.

As well as three different story times, the library offers robotics, computer coding and discovery kits with microscopes.

“We have backpacks with STEM related contents,” Smith said. “One backpack for history, another one for robots and another one for cooking.”

“Libraries are about books, and we are getting a lot more digital books,” she said. “A lot of the patrons use Utah’s Online Library. We have Overdrive through Utah ‘s online library. We are part of the state Library Association. We look at what other libraries are doing and try to implement them in our library.”

“We do inter-library loans,” Smith added.

The Richmond Library is part of the North Cache Consortium, so if a patron wants something the Richmond location doesn’t have, it can be sent from another location for Richmond patrons to check out.

The library has become more of a community gathering place.

The bottom floor of the Richmond Carnegie library has been turned in to a place where people can go and read play games and relax.

“We have chess games, puzzles,” Smith said. “We have a carpeted area for kids to play, and more people are coming to the library to use the internet.”

People can take tests for classes at Utah State University or Weber State University at the Richmond Library.

“Libraries are starting to get into virtual reality,” she said. “I’m trying to get a grant.”

Smith hopes virtual reality will be something to get teens more involved in the library.

Jamie Hancock, an assistant librarian, said libraries are a great way to be connected with the community and learn about different resources for education and early literacy.

The Richmond Library has a staff of four and help from five volunteers.

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