On May 13, the doors of the much anticipated LINC Library Innovation Center will open. Located in the north part of downtown Greeley at the former Greeley Tribune building, the 62,000 square-foot, multilevel community centerpiece endeavors to be what Dr. Matthew Hortt, executive director for the High Plains Library District, calls an “activity hub that links together a public library, an innovation center, and an arts space for adults and children that will spark interest, create curiosity, and inspire exploration.”
The High Plains Library District took cues from its patrons, who indicated they wanted the next iteration of their flagship library to match the district’s vibrancy, incorporate innovation and connect the community. Turns out, the idea of interconnectedness — or confluence — became the driving force underpinning the project.
Confluence to the Community
As the name implies, the new Library Innovation Center draws upon the linkages between old and new (the former flagship library was called the Lincoln Park Library), adults and children, arts and creativity, nature and humanity. Ultimately, says Matthew, the idea behind LINC was to create a space that “pulls together different ideas [while] pulling the community together; to be a connector for the community.”
What’s more, because water and its confluence play a pivotal role in the region, LINC depicts the resource’s value in a number of ways. From the “River of Books” to the glow-in-the dark façade, which is patterned after the local Northern Colorado Watershed Project, patrons will be surrounded by images of water and concepts of confluence — right down to the exhibits and mobile installations, many of which were made to “drive innovation and flow out to the district.”
In addition, renowned artist and former Greeley resident Wes Bruce has created a permanent installation for LINC Library inspired by water that offers space for contemplation, play and wonder — for adults and children.
Beyond the distinctive architecture and artistic aesthetics, LINC also provides patrons a number of revelatory features including:
- Innovation Bays to accommodate classes, workshops, craftmanship and woodworking
- Gallery Space that will display works by local artists
- A Recording Studio for video, audio and podcasting production
- Computer workstations and 3D printer/engraver to enable modeling and inspire innovation
- Technology with VR units to support skills-based training
- STEM Interactive Exhibits to foster children’s play, learning and experimentation
- Circular Indoor/Outdoor Courtyard for relaxing, reading a book, enjoying nature and (when it’s cold) sitting by the fireplace
“Probably my favorite elements of the library involve kids,” says James Melena, community relations and marketing manager for the High Plains Library District. Beyond Wes Bruce’s immersive, interactive installation, there is a dedicated children’s section complete with hobbit door entrance, storytime room, LED-light patterned sky and “nooks and crannies” for kids to retreat.
“It’s like a children’s museum, where a child can discover new things inside of every visit for an entire year.”
Invitation to the Community
Since the late 1800s, Greeley’s leaders have always made room for a robust central library. And though the public library moved around the city, it remained a focal point to serve a growing community. However, this iteration of the main library is meant not only to be a downtown fixture, but to serve as a downtown anchor. With ample free parking and easy proximity to award-winning restaurants and bars, distinctive retail shopping and vibrant galleries, studios and arts venues, LINC Library is just a first stop for district patrons and visitors across the Front Range to experience Greeley’s dynamic downtown.
And as James points out, you don’t need a library card to make use of a library. Indeed, he says, “LINC is for anyone who is curious and who wants to experience Greeley’s future hub.”
LINC is just one reason we say Greeley is chock-full of stories even better lived than told. Once you have a chance to explore the new space, share your incredible Greeley story here.