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Davis Journal

Board accepts Bountiful City’s proposal for new South Branch Library

May 15, 2023 10:14AM ● By Becky Ginos

BOUNTIFUL—Plans are in the works for a new South Branch library and the Library Board has accepted Bountiful City’s proposal. The location of the library will be announced in the coming weeks if the Davis County Commission votes in favor of the plan. 

“All of the cities would like to have a library,” said Davis County Library Director Josh Johnson. “Out of the four we got a proposal from North Salt Lake and Bountiful. The board selected Bountiful and gave a notice to proceed.”

The Library board is in favor of moving to a new location, he said. “This will be a new building, new systems, etc. This will provide service throughout the county, not just to Bountiful residents. We want everybody in the south end to be served, that is our goal.”

Johnson said the board works in concert with the commission. “The board is recommending to the commission the Bountiful proposal. The commission has the final say.”

In 2017, the county received funding for the Syracuse branch that needed expansion, he said. “They also needed to do something with Clearfield and the South Branch. It was aging and had significant structural problems. It either needed to be rebuilt or remodeled.”

The Syracuse branch was remodeled and opened in 2019 and the decision was made to build a new Clearfield branch that opened in 2021. “They overlapped so it was kind of an intense time,” said Johnson. “In the middle of doing the north branches they changed the names to the city’s name.”

Through those projects administrators recognized they had to study the more needful things, he said. “Even then they worked with the south end on what services they could provide. They needed a survey from the public and that was finished last October. That helped them focus more intently on those things.”

The South Branch was built over 50 years ago, Johnson said. “It’s not up to code. We want to build something that will last into the next 50 years. It’s one of the most heavily used library branches in the system.”

When the Syracuse branch was closed down they operated a small branch, he said. “The 2020 response to the pandemic with curbside service helped us to understand what we could do.”

Johnson said as they’ve moved forward the survey showed people are interested in books and e-books as well. “The response showed 86% value physical collections in some way. Of the whole county, 58% visit a physical location at least once a month and 50% every one to two years and they also use the online collection. I guess folks use both. Fifty percent support library funding to add to the collection, 18% to add a location and 18% to add hours. About 25% agree to future focus groups.”

Johnson said they’re anxious to get moving on the project. “If it’s approved we’ll hire an architect this year. If construction costs go down that would be wonderful but with inflation I don’t know.”

The library operates with so many people, he said. “You don’t do this kind of thing alone.”

This all has to be done right, said Johnson. “We recognize the promise we made (to the taxpayers) in 2017 and we intend to keep it. We want to do what’s best for the south end of the county.” λ