The Idaho Falls Public Library is one of the best enjoyments in this city. It is a crown jewel in the heart of Idaho Falls and just walking distance away to the Recreation Center to the north, the Museum of Idaho to the east, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho to the south, and Sportsman’s Park to the west. Back in 2002, Gary Mills wrote a helpful, historical synopsis in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the library in their current location.
In the parking lot, a large basalt monument marks the spot of where the pioneer Eagle Rock town once thrived. Allen J. Haroldsen acquired a 10,000 pound lava rock and in 1,200 hours sculptured it down with a drill and pneumatic chisel to design a 7 ½ foot tall, 3,000 pound eagle. He unveiled the creation on June 31, 1985.
The library recently remodeled. They have a nice front entrance for excellent handicap access. Five mobility carts are parked next to the wall to service patrons with disabilities and special needs. I had requested a tour, and a librarian named Liza took me through the three levels, explaining the various features.
On the entrance wall, the pictures of three ladies hang. Rebecca Mitchell (1834-1908), Kate Curley (1850-1903), Marion Orr (1892-1954) pioneered the way so that all in Idaho Falls might enjoy reading. Also, there is mention of the Mae Neuber Foundation. Ella Mae Neuber (1901-1992) was a great supporter of the library.
To the right, meeting rooms host special children’s story times. These rooms are also available for rent in three hour minimum blocks at inexpensive rates. The charge is a little higher if you will bring food.
To the left, parenting resources greet you as you enter the children’s library. This bustling center contains interactive computers, tables and chairs, oversized bean bags, magazines, audio, fiction and nonfiction books. It’s practically the heart and soul of the library. To see all the kids, to witness their curiosity for adventure and learning, and to feel their energy—this brings great satisfaction. How many of these young readers will eventually end up being our local leaders? It’s exciting to think about.
Central to the library is the Japanese Friendship Garden. After passing the large hutch containing LDS hymn and song books, sponsored by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, you enter the living atrium. Garden designer, Mike Zaladonis, integrated a quest for knowledge in books with Japanese lanterns, large rocks, a stream, waterfalls, a fish pond, water basin and dipper, and sand and pebble fields. Large, leafy plants ascend upward to the ceiling dome.
When walking up the circular ramp to the second floor, make sure that you check out the beautiful artwork on the wall, “Harbor House” by Fred Ochi and “Eagle Rock Street” by Patrick Schmunk. On the second floor, you will discover all kinds of help and interesting spots. Over to the far right is a lab containing 40+ computers for public use. Outside the lab is a nice area for group study. At the drinking fountain, fill up your drinking bottle at the dispenser.
Basically, the second floor has a photocopy machine, a microfilm center, a book holding area from A to Z, tax reference materials, three private study rooms, encyclopedia and research tools, maps, an extensive DVD and audio books collections, six file cabinets, old IFPL scrapbooks, and the Idaho Room.
The Idaho Room is my favorite. It even smells good. And don’t overlook the chairs under the sky lights along the back wall next to the sister city display, “Festival in Tokai.”
Most of the library’s 300,000 to 350,000 books are shelved on the top floor. (According the libraries.org, the collection of the library contains 220,256 volumes. The library circulates 700,305 items per year. The library serves a population of 91,856 residents.) Standout islands range from popular quick reads (7 day checkout), romance novels, IFPL staff picks from adult to teen, hot-off-the-press biographies, various seasonal topics, and the newest nonfiction.
The fiction section is arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name.
Tucked in a spacious corner is the teen area. Walking through the tall tables and chairs, a young adult can browse fiction books to his or her heart’s content. An added feature off to the side are the rows of audio and graphic books and short stories.
The second floor also contains rows of large print books, back issues of newspapers, music CD’s. In the reading room, you can pick up one of 25 newspapers or 150 magazines, sit down and relax at one of the tables, and catch up on news.
There is the nonfiction section arranged according to the Dewey Decimal System: 000 Generalities, 100 Philosopy & Pyschology, 200 Religion, 300 Social Sciences, 400 Language, 500 Natural Sciences & Math, 600 Technology (Applied Sciences), 700 The Arts, 800 Literature, and 900 Geography, History & Biography.
Lastly, there is a Spanish section next the elevator. Here, you will find magazines, audio books, CD’s, and books. There is a great sofa and foot rest – the best in the library! And in the back corner, beyond this Hispanic material is a perfectly isolated study spot, free from distraction.
And lest I forget, the latest cool feature of the Idaho Falls Public Library is the 11 electronic self-check-out stations. They are slick.
So I encourage you to visit the Idaho Falls Public Library. The Director, Robert Wright, and all the staff are doing a great job. And we give a hearty thanks to all the current trustees, Hal Peterson, Rodd Rapp, Claire Pace, and Mary Lund, and Kristin Hague.
I love the place.