Mesa residents want more green space - and more books.
On Nov. 6, 2018, Mesa voters approved a $196 million bond for parks ($70 million), public safety ($77 million) and culture. The latter translates to “libraries.”
Of the bond total, $28 million was pegged primarily to beef up the library system, including the creation of a Southeast Mesa Library near Eastmark and Main and Dobson library improvements.
According to a June request for proposals published by the city, the Southeast Library will cost just under $17 million to build. “The city anticipates commencing construction in the summer of 2023,” according to the ad.
While the new library remains off in the distance, a $1.5 million upgrade of the Main Library at 64 E. First St. is up and running with a new Children’s Library. It features reading and play spaces inspired by Arizona wildlife.
The kids area takes up a little more than 10 percent of the library’s 100,000 square feet.
Heather Wolf, director of Mesa Public Library, noted this is the biggest Main Library renovation in nearly a quarter-century.
“More than providing a wow factor for our visitors, it enhances the library experience for children,” Wolf said.
Mayor John Giles called the new kid’s library, which made its debut this week, “a tremendous addition to the Mesa Main Library with many features that are both educational and fun for the entire family.
“We are very grateful to Mesa voters for making this dream come true,” he added.
Features include a story time stage, early childhood development area, event room, reading nooks, video projection games and adult-size and child-size entrances sculpted to look like Arizona rock formations.
“Exciting new features will really make reading fun and ignite children’s imaginations,” said Vice Mayor Jenn Duff. “It will truly be a place where both children and parents can bond, learn and create memories.”
Colorful artwork centered on Arizona wildlife adorns the Children’s Library, including murals by local artists Koryn Woodward Wass and Thomas “Breeze” Marcus. Photos from Arizona Game and Fish complement the space.
The floor has animal tracks that lead you to the event room, lots of inspiring books and other engaging new features.
Library hours at 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
For additional information about Mesa Public Library, visit mesalibrary.org.