By Louis Howley, Phoenix Public Library
Originally appeared in the July-August 2009 edition of the Arizona Library Association Newsletter
On Sunday, June 7, Evelyn Howley and I visited the Prescott Gateway Branch Library. We traveled north on I-17 to exit 262. Then we continued west on Arizona 69 until we reached Lee Boulevard. We turned left there and then turned right at Gateway Boulevard. The library is just inside and to the right of the northeast entrance to the Mall by Sears.
Prescott was established in 1864, according to the city’s website. It was named for the historian William Hickling Prescott. The city was incorporated in 1883, and is the county seat of Yavapai County. In 2007, the population was over 43,000, according to Arizona Community Profiles.
There has been a library presence in Prescott since 1863, according to the Arizona Cultural Inventory Project. In 1879, the Prescott Library Association started a subscription library, which failed, but was begun again in 1897. In 1903 a Carnegie Library opened as a free library. In 1975 the library moved to its current location, and added a children’s room in 1985. The library was remodeled and expanded in 2006, with the library temporarily taking up a presence in the Gateway Mall in addition to the existing branch library.
Gateway Mall, located at 3250 Gateway Boulevard, is managed by Westcor, and was named because its location is at the gateway to the City of Prescott. The Mall opened in the spring of 2002 and Prescott Public Library has had a presence in the Mall since that time. At one time the library was known as the Prescott Connexion. The Gateway Branch Library received upgrades in September 2008.
The library has a large open entryway, flanked on both sides by display cabinets. There is a sign above one of the display cases which states “Library, Reading Space, Internet, Passports” on successive lines. The Library participates in the Passport Acceptance Program. Customers can make appointments for this service. Forms are available in a stand near the magazines.
Upon entering, used books for sale are on carts to the right. Immediately behind this is the service desk. To the left as you enter are some computer stations near some beautiful Southwest-themed paintings. These lead to tables for study and reading. They are near a bulletin board and magazine rack.
Computer stations in the middle of the library are surrounded by shelves of materials and a display case of music CDs. There is a small meeting room with a table in the back. A center shelving unit contains children’s videos and, on the other side, reference materials.
Of course holds can be picked up at this library which makes it a convenient destination if you are doing other shopping. Plus there are a lot of parking spaces at the Mall!
This is such a creative use of space to promote library services, and takes the library to where people are conducting their other business. I personally like the idea of working where I can step outside after work and go shopping!