Surprising Services and Features Offered by South Utah County Libraries

If you only think of books when you hear the word “library,” you’re in for a surprise. Though books remain the most important aspect of any library, they are certainly not the only feature worth exploring. Here are some of the interesting products and services South Utah County libraries offer.  

“Libraries are changing into more of community centers,” says Santaquin City Library Director, Jennifer Wagner. 

Wagner  works hard to make sure community interests are fulfilled as much as possible through the library. In addition to offering standard services such as traditional and electronic book checkouts through the Libby app, the library also has a few unconventional features. 

Patrons interested in arts and crafts can check out sewing machines and craft-themed activity kits. There are also pickleball kits, Go Pros, and other items perfect for active families. Parents with young children love to use the Yoto players, which are ingenious devices that read to kids. The library currently offers a variety of pre-programmed storybook cards to go with the Yoto players. Patrons can also check out laptops and hotspots to help them access the internet in places where it may not be accessible otherwise.  

Santaquin City Library and Payson City Library enjoy a co-op relationship. This means that anyone who holds a Santaquin library card can also go to the Payson library for free, and vice versa. Most local libraries also offer library cards to residents from other cities for a reasonable out-of-town fee. 

Like Santaquin City Library, other South Utah County libraries offer a wide variety of themed kits to keep children and families entertained. Payson City Library has Community Adventure Kits that are perfect for active families. 

The adventure kits contain items like metal detectors, paddleboards, snowshoes, baby-carrying backpacks, and kayaks. These kits are usually in high demand, so they’re available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Patrons are encouraged to add their names to a waiting list. When a kit becomes available, the library will call the next name on the list. 

Payson City Library also offers a wide variety of reading programs, book clubs, and after-school programs for children. There is also a Spanish-language storytime event that occurs every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. that is open to Spanish-speaking children of all ages.

Salem City Library is a beloved community gathering area. In addition to books, the library also offers access to a variety of surprising items. Examples include blood pressure monitors, free COVID-19 tests, thermal heater guns, and ice cream makers. Patrons can even check out potentially life-saving Naloxone kits and gun safety kits. Salem City Library can also order books in other languages from the Utah State Library. 

The Salem library also offers a unique memory lab service. Patrons can bring in their old VHS tapes and use the memory labs to transfer them onto USB drives. This is a great feature for anyone who wants to preserve their memories in the most easily accessible format without paying a third-party company to do it for them. 

Springville Library serves over 34,000 citizens and offers more than 120 different free programs each. Participants can learn coding and chess or participate in mini golf and laser tag events. All of the library programs are free and open to everyone — even those without library cards. 

“I think something people overlook is the free events we offer,” Springville Library supervisor Kim Christensen said. The events are a lot of fun and provide opportunities for safe, free entertainment and social interaction. Christensen invites questions from people who are curious about what the library has to offer or who may have suggestions for additional library services or programs. 

In 2023, Spanish Fork Public Library moved from a 12,000-square-foot building to a 45,000-square-foot building. This move allowed the beloved library to dramatically expand its book selections and program offerings. 

Spanish Fork Public Library offers many of the same surprising services and checkout options offered by other South Utah County libraries, while also allowing patrons the option to reserve conference and study rooms for a small fee. Each room has a smart TV and a 2-hour reservation limit. A larger multipurpose room with a whiteboard, projector, and retractable stadium with seating for up to 130 people can also be reserved. 

South Utah County libraries are welcoming gathering places where families can go to learn, socialize, and be entertained. Your local library’s website is usually the best place to go to learn more about available services and programs. However, many libraries also have an active presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Refer to these platforms for the most up-to-date information about upcoming library events. 

Shellie Peterson
Shellie Peterson
Shellie Peterson is a mom, wife and freelance writer. She currently lives in Santaquin with her husband and daughter. In her spare time, she loves to sing, read, write and spend as much time as possible camping.

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