Before the Agave Library opened its doors last summer, the Juniper Branch Library was the only place in North Phoenix where bookworms could go to get their literary fix. Juniper is one of 16 branches of the Phoenix Public Library system, all of which are named after native desert plants. What you may not know is that there is much more to the Juniper library than just books!
As a young child, my mother used to take me to the Juniper Branch Library at 19th Avenue and Union Hills Road. Back then the library was a small suite in the northeast corner of the Safeway Plaza where Tutor Time is now located. Then in July of 1996, the Juniper library moved into a brand new building across the street. The new library was fantastic!
At 14,435 square feet it is quite small for a public library, though still much larger than the old location. The library's unique appearance is the work of Randall Fonce Architects, a local design firm that has also done work for Motorola and the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Their signature style consists of concrete, steel, and glass and the Juniper Library is no exception. Its overall form bears striking similarity to that of the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, which also features two peaked ends and a sag in the center of the ceiling. Unlike the Memorial, the Juniper Library sports a bare concrete exterior.
The north and south ends of the library feature floor to ceiling windows which let in plenty of natural light. The high ceilings and curved interior walls give the library an open, airy feel on the inside.
Juniper Library has a circulating collection of nearly 100,000 books, videos, and other volumes. The periodicals section is stocked with the latest magazines and newspapers for patrons to enjoy in one of several comfortable chairs. The north section of the library contains adult fiction and non-fiction while the south section contains the kids section.
Of course, there is much more to Juniper than just shelves of dead tree material. Right inside the front door there are 19 public computer terminals with Internet access, plus free Wi-Fi access throughout the library. Juniper Branch added a special Teen Section in 2002, thanks to a generous $30,000 dollar donation from military insurance giant USAA.
There is also a community meeting room, 24 hour book drop, and a collaborative public art installation by sculptor Mayme Kratz, book artist Debra L. Hopkins, and poet Valerie Vadala-Homer. The checkout process is painless thanks to the new self-checkout kiosks that scan RFID tags attached to each item. Juniper Branch even has a rack of books for sale at discount prices.
With all of this in mind, it is easy to see why North Phoenix residents love the Juniper Branch Library! Stop by and check it out today!
Juniper Branch Library
1825 W. Union Hills Dr
Phoenix, AZ 85027
Web: Phoenix Public Library