Before I earned my MLIS (Masters of Library and Information Science), and long before I was hired as the Youth Services Coordinator here at JCLS – I was a library volunteer at the Phoenix Branch Library. Because of that, it has always held a special place in my heart, and I’m so happy to be writing about it as my first entry in our Discover the Treasures of JCLS series. 

The Phoenix branch is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Their hours vary daily, so please check out the schedule on our website to see what hours they are open on that particular day. There is also a study room and a meeting room. You can even reserve them ahead of time through our website. 

A large mural of a Phoenix is one of the first things you see when entering the branch. The Phoenix is a mythical bird that cyclically regenerates itself, dying by bursting into flames and then rising from the ashes of its predecessor. 

This metaphor became more appropriate as the community of Phoenix came together after the fires in 2020. During my most recent visit, I chatted with a family who had lost their home in the fire. They are still using the library to help get their lives back on track. During that particular visit, they mentioned having just moved into a house and needed to put a hold on a hotspot since they don’t have internet yet. 

I’m sure this is just one of many, many stories like that. But I am not here to bring up this trauma again for all of you, readers.   

I’m here to talk about cats. 

The Phoenix branch is the “cat branch.” You can’t visit the branch without seeing at least one hanging around. And who can blame them? This open space next door to the branch is prime feline real estate.   

But it’s not just outside where you can see these furry friends. Inside the branch’s meeting room is this beautiful mural by artist Cathy Egleston, of the cats hanging out – including one off the “canvas,” so to speak, that sits nicely atop the wooden wall accent. 

There is even a display in the lobby where patrons can share the name of their own pet cats. 

The inside of the branch is airy and bright. It has a lot of windows and high ceilings – and it allows you to admire the outdoors and the sunlight while you’re inside perusing the collection, using the computer, or even in the study room.   

This “bringing the outside inside” theme continues in the children’s department where you can sit around the “campfire” or play in a “pond.” 

Finally, even if you’re not a “cat person,” you can still find many fun things to do in Phoenix. For example, you can peruse the library for materials on a variety of topics (not just cats), you can attend a class at the civic center, catch a concert at the Phoenix clubhouse, or for all of you “dog people,” you can attend the upcoming community event: The Dog Days of Summer. 

The City of Phoenix Parks and the Greenway Commission presents the 5th Annual Dog Days of Summer at Colver Road Park. This event takes place Saturday, July 28th, from 10:30 am – 1 pm, with the dog parade occurring at 11 am. 

There will be vendors, a water play area, raffles, a dog obstacle course, dog story time, and more – including a free hot dog lunch cooked by Jackson County Fire District #5. Plus, Phoenix branch manager Jody Fleming will be there handing out a fun dog-themed Take & Make that will also help keep you cool (hint, hint). And stop by the branch later and pick up another one; Jody always has tons of fun Take & Makes for families. 

 So if you’re spending time in the southern part of Jackson County, please stop by the Phoenix branch – and say hi to the staff (and maybe the cats, too ???? )