Mapleton, Anythink open new library

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The move was less than a mile, and the new space is just 3,000 square feet larger, but the opportunities seem immeasurable for Anythink Director Pam Sandlian Smith.

The library district closed its Washington Street location April 12 and moved its staff and materials to the new Anythink York building, which is located at the Mapleton School District’s Skyview Campus, 8990 York St. in Thornton.

The new 9,388 square-foot library opens Saturday.

“This partnership with Anythink Libraries is so unique,” said Charlotte Ciancio, Mapleton superintendent. “It will make it possible for us to bring much-needed resources to the heart of the Thornton community. Like Mapleton, Anythink is rooted in bringing engaging, educational opportunities to families that will inspire a love of learning.”

At the new library, patrons will have access to more computers, stronger Internet bandwidth, a slightly larger book collection and it will be open on Saturdays.

Smith said because it is located on a school campus, the York library has more opportunity to grow programs in ways the district can’t at its other library locations.

“We don’t have a 700-seat auditorium anywhere else,” she said of the Rosa Auditorium at Skyview. “Also, they have a commercial kitchen. We’re thinking about maybe doing some cooking classes. There are opportunities ahead and we’ll be able to expand our services and programs.”

Voters approved funding in November 2010 to match a $32 million grant from the state to overhaul the Skyview Campus. The overhaul includes providing classroom space for five schools, and a community resource center and a regional library.

Smith said Mapleton approached Anythink five years ago with the collaboration idea— the school district would build the facility and Anythink would run the library and pay for the operation costs.

“It’s a great use of public funds,” she said. “We get a brand new beautiful building and the community gets a brand new library and the community didn’t have to come with additional funding.”

The collaboration saved Anythink from no longer dealing with a building that was not designed to be a library and needed significant work done in renovations. The Anythink Washington Library, 8992 Washington St., was originally a bank and the building was built in 1970.

The first level of the older building did not have load bearing weight so it was not able to hold shelves full of books.

The books were kept on the second level, which had its own issue — the roof leaked, Smith said.

“The library district made a decision not to invest in that building, we did do minor cosmetic stuff, but we knew long term that building wouldn’t be feasible for us,” she said.

The district moved into the space in 1989 and spent $300,000 in 2011 for minor renovations that included new furniture, shelving, painting and carpeting.

“Most of that investment we took with us (to Anythink York),” she said.

Anythink York is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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