Burton Barr Central Library Opens Temporary Location

Over six months after the Burton Barr Central Library was forced to close for about a year when a pipe burst to flood it, city officials have opened a temporary library site down the street.

The city on Friday, January 5th launched the temporary location for the downtown Phoenix library in an old department store at the former Park Central Mall near Catalina Drive and Central Avenue in Phoenix. The library is about two miles away from the original location. To enter the temporary location, you go through the glass doors beneath the clock between Jimmy John’s and Jamba Juice.

Lee Franklin, Community Relations Manager for the Phoenix Public Library said, “We had a lot of our customers that discovered us in other neighborhoods, which we were excited about, but we also heard from a number of our Phoenix-Central Phoenix customers that getting beyond central Phoenix was a little more challenging.”

The temporary library will help provide basic library services to Phoenix residents who have not had access to a local library due to the flooding of downtown Phoenix library.

Jeriann Thacker with the Phoenix Public Library said, “This was basically a blank space when we moved in, so we’re installing a little bit of everything that you’d see at Burton Barr.”

Thacker goes on to say, “We’re going to have space for seating, a lot of books, DVDs — about 50,000 items will be in this collection, which is comparable to the size of one of our larger branches.”

With a variety of books and movies to choose from, Thacker states the library will help to provide customers computer access and cultural passes that provide free access to some of the Valley’s museums.

There will also be library programs such as early literacy programs and family programs like story time. Basically, most everything there was at Burton Barr will be available at the temporary location.

Those driving to the temporary location have access to free parking and can grab a coffee or something to eat at the nearby coffee shops and restaurants near the library.

The temporary library location was voted on by the City Council to rent the space in November.  The city signed a lease to let the library work out of the old mall space until December 14. However, the lease can be cancelled after nine months with a sixty-day notice.

To occupy the space for nine months costs approximately $675,000 plus any applicable taxes. If the space needs to be rented out by the city for the remaining three months it will cost nearly $130,000.

The insurance funds from the damages received by the Burton Barr Central Library will be used to pay for the temporary facilities.

Last July, the downtown library was flooded when a pipe burst in the course of a large monsoon storm. The damages from the storm forced the library to close for about a year for needed repairs that will cost around $10 million.

During an investigation, it was found out that flooding happened when a corroded fire-sprinkler pipe burst during a monsoon storm that propelled between 50 and 60 gallons of water per minute on the fifth floor in the northwest corner of the building.

In response of the findings of the investigation three employees were fired, two were demoted in job ranking and one was given a suspension of forty hours. 


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