Discover these lesser-known resources at a Salt Lake City or County library near you
Libraries offer much, much more than books. They are now the hubs of livable resources, and the Salt Lake City Public Library and Salt Lake County Library are no exception.
If you’re new to Salt Lake City, here’s a breakdown of the two main library systems in the area.
– The Salt Lake City Public Library System (also known as The City Library) is headquartered in the main downtown library and also has seven smaller branches in the neighborhoods. All Salt Lake City or Salt Lake County residents can receive a free library card for the city library. More information is available at SLCPL.org.
– The Salt Lake County Library (also known as The County Library) system is much larger than the City Library, with 18 branches spread across the Salt Lake Valley. All residents of the district can receive a free library card for the district library. More information is available at SLCOlibrary.org.
Trish Hull, director of the Kearns County Library branch, said libraries are “the heart of democracy” because they provide equal access to information and education for all.
“We are a balance,” she said. In order to be able to access all of the contents of the following list, all you need is a free library card.
Let your garden grow
Founded in 2019 in partnership with Wasatch Community Gardens, the City Library’s free seed library allows anyone to request seeds, then take them home and plant them. Originally located in the main library only, the seed library was expanded to include the Day-Riverside, Marmalade, Glendale and Sprague branches.
Just read the seed catalog – which contains an ever-changing selection of vegetables, herbs, and flowers – and place your order online or in person.
Once your garden overflows, save the seeds of the plants and share them, either by giving them to a friend or neighbor, or by donating them back to the library.
The Seed Library encourages people not to waste seeds that have the potential to be “a plant that can nourish other people in the community,” said Liesl Jacobson, assistant director of community engagement at the city library.
Where: Search the seed catalog at services.slcpl.org/theplot and collect your orders from the main library in downtown Salt Lake City. Or visit a participating branch in person.
Grab some brain food
Both the city and county library systems have partnered with the Utah Food Bank to provide free food to children and adolescents under the age of 18 as part of the Kids’ Cafe program.
The City Library offers snacks in the Marmalade and Glendale branches and in the main library. Opening times and further information can be found at services.slcpl.org/kids-cafe.
The County Library offers free packed lunches for children at the following branches: Hunter, Kearns, Magna, Smith, Tyler, and West Valley. For opening hours and other information, see https://www.slcolibrary.org/information/FAQs.
Improve your skills
If a car’s brake pads squeal or a kitchen faucet is leaking, skip the repair bill and learn how to fix it yourself with digital guides.
You can also learn how to write a resume, take arts and crafts classes, or become a Microsoft Excel assistant. The selection varies depending on the library system and branch.
Where: On SLCPL.org, click Explore, then Digital Library, then browse by subject. On SLCOlibrary.org, click the Learn tab. Then, under Popular Topics, click How To.
Read the newspaper
All library users across the state have unlimited access to The Salt Lake Tribune on sltrib.com, including subscriber-only stories.
On the City Library website, you can also read The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as 600 international, national and regional newspapers via ProQuest Newsstand (in The Digital Library).
Borrow from the Library of Things
Explore new technology and even new worlds with the County Library’s growing library of things. The collection of devices can be checked out by adult guests free of charge and includes internet hotspots, Chromebooks, tablets and telescopes for stargazing.
The “Preserve the Memory” equipment, which is also available, makes it easier for you to start digitizing these shoeboxes with old photos, films, slides and cassettes for future generations.
Where: The selection varies by branch and is subject to availability. More information is available at SLCOlibrary.org. The city library also has digital conversion equipment.
Hear local tunes
Find something really unique to hum along by searching the HUM database at hum.slcpl.org. Curated by a group of musicians, writers, and producers, HUM is a treasure trove of local music with styles ranging from rock to country.
Use your library card to stream and download for free.
The cost of high-quality equipment that is required for 3D printing, embroidery, engraving, robotics, design or sound production does not have to set any limits to your creativity.
The County Library’s range of equipment and software enables any artist to discover themselves and grow. For a complete list of all available elements, see slcolibrary.org/information/create.
The city library also has a wide range of equipment for photography, sewing (bring your own thread and fabric), graphic design, push of a button, laminating, video production, and more.
Where: The Holladay, Kearns, and Magna branches of the County Library or the Main City Library and the Marmalade, Glendale, and Sprague branches.
Play the game
Discover your next favorite board game at the Marmalade Game Exchange, the latest addition to the Marmalade branch of the city library.
Just bring a little-used board game (make sure all the pieces in there) to the library and trade it in for a new game to take home and keep.
Remember the good times
Memory care kits designed for people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia are now available through the city library.
The kits are available in five different themes: music, travel, pets, outdoor or transport. Each kit contains DVDs, fidget toys, books, CDs, and other items that “can stimulate conversation, provide rest for caregivers, and offer activities that can bring back memories,” the library said.
To browse various kits, visit SLCPL.org.