Salt Lake County Library in Salt Lake Valley, UT

"You belong"

Vietnam and Desert Storm War Veterans attend “Art Beyond Combat,” an art exhibition and reception at Salt Lake County Library’s Viridian Event Center in West Jordan, featuring the work of local artists who served in the Vietnam War. (Credit: Liz Sollis)

Salt Lake County Library is a public library system located in the Salt Lake Valley, with 18 community branches open to everyone of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. Our team is committed to making a positive difference in the lives of our community by inspiring imagination, satisfying curiosity, and providing a great place for everyone to visit. Whether you’re a child discovering a love of reading and learning, a teen in need of a fun, safe place to connect with others, an adult satiating your love of the written word and community gatherings, or a family seeking edutainment, you belong at the Salt Lake County Library. We are ready, able, and willing to support you throughout all aspects of your life.

Teens have a place to hang at the Salt Lake County Library, like these anime loving ones at the library’s ToshoCON event. (Credit: Liz Sollis)

Stories About Salt Lake County Library

Jackie first met Zoey on August 31, 2016 while working the checkout desk at Salt Lake County Library’s Kearns branch. It was early evening, things were just starting to slow down, and Jackie was clearing up some counter space when she saw a little hand reaching into the book drop, returning books. Jackie looked over and asked the little girl, Zoey, if she needed any help. Zoey apologized for returning the books late and told Jackie that her mom loves to read but she needs to return all of her books. Jackie kindly told Zoey that she it was okay and that she would help her with the late fee. They checked in the items together and Zoey mentioned that the reason her mom’s books were late was because she had died.

Jackie and another young Salt Lake County Library frequenter, who happens to have the same taste in hairstyles. (Credit: Liz Sollis)

Jackie learned that Zoey was only six-years-old, which stirred up some emotions because it reminded her of how she lost her mother, also a Salt Lake County Library employee, in 2012. After checking in Zoey’s mom’s books and waiving the late fees, Zoey asked Jackie if she could babysit her dog, Wiki. She invited Jackie to go with her outside to meet Wiki, assured her that he was really nice and loves people, and confessed that she didn’t know how to tie his leash to the bench. Being a lover of dogs, and wanting to support Zoey, Jackie couldn’t refuse and followed her outside. While helping tie up the dog, Zoey mentioned Jackie that Wiki is a special dog. She told Jackie that Wiki always slept with her mom, and the night her she died, Wiki came into her room and jumped on her bed until she woke up. Zoey followed Wiki into her mom’s room, finding her facedown on the floor. Zoey then took her little hand and covered her whole face with her palm, demonstrating how her mom fell off her bed, landed on her face, and couldn’t breathe.

At this point, Jackie was choking back her tears and told Zoey how brave she and Wiki were to help her mom and that her mom would be so proud of her. Jackie also shared that her mom died and she had to be brave when the fire trucks and ambulances came to her house. Jackie then chose to break the rules and bring Wiki inside behind the checkout desk, on leash, and watch him while Zoey picked out her picture books. Jackie later found out that Zoey’s dad works nights, and she communicates with him through a walkie-talkie to let him know when she is leaving the library. Although Jackie hasn’t seen Zoey for a while, her story is one that will stick with her forever.

Jackie takes to three wheels to pass out books to kids at a community event in Kearns. (Credit: Liz Sollis)

We are so much more than library employees to the community we serve. “I learned so much about myself that day just talking to Zoey. I believe we are all going through the same struggles, many at different degrees, but we all have them,” said Jackie Standing, Assistant Circulation Supervisor. “That day, the only thing that Zoey was worried about was getting her mom’s books back on time. Her struggle was so much more, but all she needed at that moment was someone to watch Wiki while she picked out a few books for herself.”