Library Service in Sweetwater Community began in the early part of the century when progressive and community minded residents worked to bring library service to both Green River and Rock Springs. Today the Sweetwater County Library System serves the 15th largest county in land area (10,425.30 sq. mi.) in the United State with 3 main libraries and six rural branch libraries.
The Sweetwater County Library System serves a population of more than 44,468 with nearly 20,000 cardholders. The Library System provides access to approximately 222,920 print volumes, 17,568 audio-visual items, and 620 magazine and newspaper subscriptions. SCLS also provides access to 51 online reference databases.
The Sweetwater County Library was constructed in Green River in 1906 with a $20,000 Carnegie Grant. In 1980 the County Library was moved two blocks east into its current 15,500 sq. ft. facility. The library houses more than 66,000 volumes in addition to the Director’s Office, Business Office, Branch Coordinator and Public Relations Office. Over the years remodeling was done to increase space for patron services and work space for library staff.
The Rock Springs City Library was constructed in 1908 with a $11,323 Carnegie Grant and opened in 1910. Forty-four years later the first major remodel took place, followed by additional expansion in 1965. During the mid-1970s the building underwent extensive remodeling and expansion, including an addition which joined the old LDS Church to the Library. The Community Fine Arts Center is located in this addition. In 1975, a Grand Reopening was held to show the public the new addition to the Rock Springs Library.
On February 28, 1987, the White Mountain Library was opened at the intersection of Dewar and Sweetwater Drives. The building was constructed at a cost of $1.86 million and has 26,300 square feet. In addition to the public services area, it houses the Technical Services Department which catalogues and processes library materials for the entire Library system.
The Community Fine Arts Center opened in November, 1966 with a federal grant. When the grant expired on July 1, 1970, the Sweetwater County Library System, City of Rock Springs and School District #1 jointly replaced funding for the Center. The County purchased the building in the fall of 1970. The Center houses and maintains the School District’s collection of more the 420 works of art. On July 1, 1991 the Community Fine Arts Center was formally integrated into the Sweetwater County Library System, although it continues to receive funding from the School District and the City of Rock springs.
The Sweetwater County Library System has six rural branch libraries in the communities of Bairoil, Farson, Granger, Reliance, Wamsutter and Superior. These community libraries are serving their patrons at a growing pace. Service in some of these communities has continued since the 1940s.
Outreach Services provides access to the Library System’s collections to the outlying areas in Sweetwater County and to individual residents in Green River and Rock springs who are confined by health, age or disability to their homes.
Sweetwater County Library System improves the quality of life in our communities by:
- Helping individuals obtain information,
- Providing materials that are reliable and current,
- Encouraging a lifelong joy of reading and learning for all, especially children.