Whenever I drive by this impressive structure or enter its literary walls, my feelings are a jumble of pride, joy, nostalgia, and simple pleasure. The Provo Library at Academy Square is housed in the former Brigham Young Academy building that my grandmother, mother, and parents-in-law frequented as students decades ago.
When I was a student myself at BYU, the building was a mess--abandoned, vandalized, and broken. My heart ached whenever I drove down University Avenue during the 1980s. Joyfully, the former Academy was eventually rescued, restored, and resurrected as Provo's new public library.
Two-year-old Abby and I were one of its first patrons as the refurbished doors were opened in early September 2001. Our picture was published in the Deseret News the next morning.
Toddler Abby routinely had to stop and hug this statue as we entered the children's section of the Provo Library, and to this day, I often see her 13-year-old self glancing at it with continued affection.
Just across the street from the library is BYU's former women's gymnasium. My mom remembers taking the required PE class "Activities of Fitness" in this building in 1961. It is currently home to a trendy boutique, but I'm so glad the facade remains.
I do love the Provo Library at Academy Square and the unique and historic building that envelopes it.