arizona library reopens 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

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.