First Public Library To Open in FLDS Community

Washington County Opening Hildale Branch This Summer

HILDALE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) A new public library is opening in Hildale, UT, a town best known for the Fundamentalist LDS polygamous sect led by Warren Jeffs. 
 
As of Tuesday, the keys of a a new 53-hundred square foot library are in the hands of Washington County.  
 
Library Director Joel Tucker is fulfilling his dream of putting the first-of-its-kind library in the polygamous community. 
 
Earlier this month, the Washington County Commission approved the $230,000 building purchase. It's been vacant more than 18 months, and was built as a FLDS Sunday schoolhouse for the Steed Family. 
 
Tucker said they're halfway to reaching a book collection worth $300,000 and a $40,000 computer lab has already been acquired. 
 
"The tough spot is that we're pulling from our rainy day fund to make this a reality," Tucker said. 
 
But it's a priority for the library system. It also represents a symbolic advancement for the community known for distancing itself from outside influence. 
 
FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs banned non-religious books, computers and the Internet several years ago. 
 
"I'm excited for the kids. I am excited that they're going to be able to have a book in their hands and read and learn different things in life other than what the community has taught them. It's been so sheltered here," Geri Rohbock said. 
 
"It's bringing resources into the community where we don't have to go out to find them. They're here for us to find them," Lori Chatwin said. 
 
The library is using bookshelves donated by Dixie State University to hold the Hildale collection.
 
Organizers hope to launch a summer reading program by July.

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