The Sprague Branch is Back

The City Library
3 min readMay 5, 2021

On the morning of Monday, May 3, visitors walked through an archway of balloons and into the The City Library’s Sprague Branch. For the first time in a little over two years, this historic library was open to the public—refreshed, remodeled, and stocked with brand-new books!

The main reading room.

Since opening in 1928, Sprague has remained a constant in the ever-evolving Sugar House neighborhood. Many generations have called this library home. A devastating flood in July 2017 made the renovation necessary, but also offered an opportunity to update the building while still honoring its legacy. Inside, patrons are finding a bright, colorful, and welcoming space, full of modern touches that still complement the building’s vintage style.

The Teen Space on the lower floor.

The Library held a ribbon cutting on Saturday, May 1. Invited guests gathered on the expanded Sprague east patio to celebrate the history of the Sprague branch and its significance to the Sugar House community as a much-loved neighborhood library. Speakers included Mayor Erin Mendenhall, City Council Chair Amy Fowler, Library Officials, and members of the team behind the renovation. Each speaker delivered moving remarks about their own experiences with the Sprague Branch, and the incredible roles libraries have played in their lives.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall delivers her remarks.

“This new renovation brings a new life in this library building,” said Mayor Mendenhall. “Libraries are extensions of our homes … I have appreciated, from the bottom of my heart, the way that our libraries are welcoming, open, supportive place for everyone who wants to enter the doors … it is a safe place, a place for support, and love, and learning, for all of us.” The Mayor shared her own experiences as a patron of the Sprague Branch, and also thanked departing Executive Director Peter Bromberg for his stewardship of the Library.

“I think she would be proud,” Mayor Mendenhall said, referring to the branch’s namesake and the Library System’s original Executive Director, Joanna Sprague.

Salt Lake City Council Chair Amy Fowler shares her love of libraries.

“Today, it is exciting to reopen our own neighborhood gem,” said City Council Chair Amy Fowler. “I can only imagine the stories these walls have, and I wish they could tell.”

Following a brief, bright ribbon cutting at the west entrance, guests were able to tour and explore the updated branch, and even sign up for limited edition Sprague library cards!

L–R: Jeff Davis (Arch Nexus), Amy Fowler (Salt Lake City Council), Heather Hart (SLCPL), Mayor Erin Mendenhall (Salt Lake City), Deborah Ehrman (SLCPL), Peter Bromberg (SLCPL), Gordon Bradberry (SLCPL), Adam Weinaker (SLCPL Board), John Paulsen (Paulsen Construction). Front and center: Sprague’s newest patron.

Many groups and individuals made this all possible. Thanks to the the Library’s design partners, Arch Nexus and Margaret Sullivan Studio, Paulsen Construction (the same company behind the original construction in 1928), and of course the Sprague Branch staff.

Whether you’re a lifelong patron of Sprague or a first time visitor, we’re so excited for you to spend time in the branch once again. As Council Chair Fowler said, “I know this place will be celebrated, will be a place of community, for generations to come.”

Sprague Branch Manager Heather Hart stands at the entrance to the new Creative Lab.