*Note: This article corrects an error in the recent print edition of our Summer issue which stated the grant for the project was $25,000. It should have read $2,500.
GLOBE- It is one woman’s tribute to libraries―and the Miami Memorial Library, to be precise. Artist Patty Sjolin put in 100 hours over the last month, transforming the lobby of the Miami library with a colorful mural that now covers two walls top to bottom. The design includes nods to much-loved titles for children including The Cat in the Hat and Meet Peter Rabbit, salutes to Arizona history and Vandal pride, and an embrace of the great classics of literature.
“I loved doing this mural,“ says Sjolin. “My hope is that the visitor will take a minute to enjoy the mural as they enter the library, and that, like a puzzle, every book and extra piece has a significant meaning, adding that she sees the mural as a tribute to the love of libraries.
“As the age of electronics becomes more the normal,” says Sjolin, “libraries are losing what was so magical about them.”
Her work is part of a larger effort to upgrade the lobby at Miami Memorial Library which began earlier this year with a grant from the State Library.
Delvan Hayward, Miami’s librarian, says she initially had high hopes for working with the Taliesin group last year on the concept and funding for the library, but when that didn’t happen, she decided to apply for a small library grant instead, and to focus on the lobby.
“I’m so grateful for the support of Supervisor Mike Pastor (former Gila County District 2 Supervisor), and my MHS 1964 classmates,” says Hayward. “They all pitched in to come up with the matching funds for a $2,500 State Library Grant.”
The main focus of the grant was to upgrade the lobby’s display case so it could be used to feature items from the many special collections housed in the library that have not been visible to the public. The value of these special collection items require that they be behind glass and under lock and key. The new display case―with specialty lighting and locks―will ensure that special items can now be displayed to entice visitors to linger and explore the library’s resources.
The idea for the mural came later and evolved.
Hayward first approached Randy Chapman―who owns a boutique with his wife, Donna, in Miami―about building a bench for the lobby. “My idea was to have a small mural painted on the bench,” says Hayward, “so he introduced me to Patty, who had also worked with them on projects at their shop.”
Sjolin, she says, was determined to include everyone’s ideas and suggestions and quickly captured the spirit of the project and then expanded on it, presenting Hayward with her concept of a mural of large shelves and overflowing books. “I loved it,” say Hayward.
The lobby upgrade with it’s new showcase and life-size mural of books is the perfect introduction to the library itself and the trove of resources it holds.
“By making the lobby more visible and interesting, “ Hayward says, “we hope we can entice more people to explore our riches and utilize our library to it’s full potential.
*Note: This project is supported by the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, a division of the Secretary of State, with funds appropriated by the Arizona State Legislature.
*Long range plans for the library involves many major improvements, such as updating the electrical and heating/cooling, however such improvements are not financially possible at this time.
Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.