Chandler library reopens 6 months after nearby explosion shut it down

Chandler library reopens 6 months after nearby explosion shut it down

Twice a year, Sunset Library’s seed-swap program allows the public to talk to master gardeners regarding specific crops and tips on better gardening and swap seeds or take plants home. Because of rising COVID-19 cases last winter, the library on Feb. 16, 2022, made the program grab-and-go. (Photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

Twice a year, Sunset Library’s seed-swap program allows the public to talk to master gardeners regarding specific crops and tips on better gardening and swap seeds or take plants home. Because of rising COVID-19 cases last winter, the library on Feb. 16, 2022, made the program grab-and-go. (Photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

CHANDLER – The pandemic closed libraries all across metro Phoenix in 2020. But one of Chandler’s four public libraries closed again last August after a gas-leak explosion in a nearby business.

Now, Sunset Library has reopened to refocus on its community programs, including virtual book readings, language lessons, tax assistance and a seed library.

When the pandemic closed Chandler libraries on March 19, 2020, in-person book borrowing went on hiatus, along with library activities and assistance. Limited access for hold pickups began May 4, 2020, and appointments for people to use computers started two weeks later. Chandler libraries fully reopened March 8, 2021.

But Sunset Library, at Ray and Rural roads, was forced to close again Aug. 26 because of damages caused by an explosion at a print shop in a strip mall next to the library, which injured several mall employees. The library had to replace ceilings, lights, carpet, bookshelves and roofing, according to ABC 15.

“We finally opened up again on Valentine’s Day,” said Aubrey Kowitt, a librarian at Sunset Library.

Here are some of the programs Sunset Library offers.

Kids programs

The Baby Garden at Chandler Sunset Library is a place for toddlers to play with toys and books.

(Audio and photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

Teen and adult programs

In addition to bringing back programming for young children, Sunset Library also has brought back programs geared toward teens and adults, including book discussion groups, according to librarian Aubrey Kowitt.

(Audio and photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

Seed swap

Twice a year, Sunset Library’s seed-swap program allows the public to talk to master gardeners regarding specific crops and tips on better gardening and swap seeds or take plants home. Because of rising COVID-19 cases last winter, the library made the program grab-and-go.

(Audio and photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

Community programs

Sunset Library is a “place for people to gather,” librarian Aubrey Kowitt told Cronkite News. “We are so much more than books.” The Chandler library also offers programming and other resources for community members.

(Audio and photo by Genesis Alvarado/Cronkite News)

Genesis Alvarado

News Visual Journalist, Phoenix

Genesis Alvarado expects to graduate in May 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. Alvarado, who was a photojournalist for The Arizona Western Voice in Yuma, is working for the Phoenix news bureau.

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