As if there weren’t enough unique amenities and attractions that make visiting northern Colorado worth your while, Greeley just added one more to the list.

Library and Innovation Center — better known as the LINC — officially opened its doors to the public this past Saturday, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The LINC is located in the former Greeley Tribune building at 501 Eighth Ave. The building was originally constructed in 1986.

The library district purchased the old Tribune building for $4 million in August 2021 and broke ground on Sept. 30, 2021. The project was estimated to cost around $31 million and the construction work was done by GH Phipps Construction, based in Greenwood Village. The architect for the project was Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, with offices in Dallas and Denver.

Matthew Hortt, executive director of the High Plains Library District, was spot on when he called the center the “Meow Wolf of libraries.”

The LINC brings 62,000 square feet of wonder, adventure and awe to northern Colorado in a way no one has yet to experience.

The backside of the new LINC library shows a mural giving the new High Plains District Library flair.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)

“You can find yourself at LINC —in a book, in a program, in a conversation with someone you met at the library,” library manager Melissa Beavers  said. “It’s a perpetual hide and seek game at LINC. We want you to seek, we want you to dream, build, create, innovate and discover something around every corner — and we have a lot of corners in this building.”

With its murals, eccentric roof line, large windows and other architectural attributes, the outside of the building let’s visitors know to expect the unexpected once they cross the threshold of the front doors.

Upon entering the building, guests are greeted by staff manning a large help desk located on the right of the entrance. This is where you can get a library card, register for activities and events, get help locating certain materials as well as learn about the so-called lay of the land of the center.

Patrons are also welcomed by a “river of books” on the left of the entrance, leading to the adult section of the library, a quiet reading room and other seating areas.

The spacious LINC library is now open to the public with 5 study rooms, 4 meeting rooms and a event room that can hold 193 people. (Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)

The LINC boasts a materials collection of more than 100,000 items and will be the new home to the High Plains Library District’s Local History and Genealogy Collection as well as copies of newspapers, photos and other materials from the Greeley Tribune.

Sixty computers are located around the facility for patrons to use for school, work or for personal needs like emails or catching up on news or social media posts.

The LINC isn’t just a nifty new library where people of all ages can check out materials or use a computer. The new facility features five study rooms, four meeting rooms, two collaboration spaces, two computer classrooms and two general classrooms open to community members, organizations and businesses to reserve and use.

An event space offers two projectors, large screens and a stage. The area is large enough to hold 193 people.

Tourists walk through a tunnel in the children’s library to the storytime room in the LINC library in downtown Greeley. (Dan England/NoCo Optimist)

One of the center’s unique features, the atrium, allows visitors the option of enjoying nature year around. The circular glass atrium has an indoor/outdoor fireplace, trees and seating areas.

The natural light that filters through the atrium’s open roof creates a warm and inviting space and the large windows are sure to offer an amazing view, especially during the fall and winter months.

“It’s beautiful; it’s amazing. This is something that Greeley needs and definitely something the families need,” staff member Marisol Dominguez said. “We would see the maps and blueprints, but you couldn’t create a picture to what it is now.”

An outdoor patio area on the back of the center is a great place for community gatherings, business meetings or other events. The area was designed with food trucks in mind with the curb cut specifically to allow trucks to easily get in and out.

The new LINC library located at 501 8th Ave. is a 62,000 square foot building that is now open to the public. There will be 60 computers available throughout the building and a material collection with more that 100,000 items.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)

The center is also a crafter and creatives’ dream, with 3D printers, laser engravers, die-cut machines and a UV printer. There will also be a gallery where local artists can display their work or people can create their own art pieces.

The center’s innovation bays offer patrons access to a variety of woodworking equipment such a CNC router, table saw, planer, lathe and other tools.

For those looking to create their own podcast, videos or music, the center has a green room and recording studio. With a little training, people of all ages can create content for different social media platforms.

“We hope that people get motivated and inspired to do things they never thought they could do,” Dominguez said.

The outline of the old Greeley Daily Tribune logo is seen on the building at the entrance to the groundbreaking during the groundbreaking ceremony for the High Plains Library District’s Library Innovation Center, or LINC, project at the former Greeley Tribune building located at 501 8th Ave. in downtown Greeley Sept. 30, 2021. (Greeley Tribune file photo)

The children’s area of the center is one to rival libraries across the nation. With its “hobbit door” and decorated ceiling, the bright open space is a womb for wonder, adventure and learning for kids, and even adults, of all ages.

The new children’s space is a world away from the small area at Lincoln Park Library, where everything “ran together” and kids really didn’t have their own space.

“I would have loved something like this as a kid. I know this is the children’s area, but I can see myself hanging out here,” Greeley parent Amanda Knolls said, laughing. “This is unreal.”

And that’s just the first floor of the facility.

While you can access the second floor using the stairs or elevator, why would you when you can challenge yourself by using the net and log path?

The upstairs area takes visitors on a whole other adventure with an art installation created by Wes Bruce, a former Greeley resident. The installation pays tribute to one of Greeley’s most precious resources — water.

Bruce’s art installation alone is worth the climb — stairs or otherwise.

Tourists descend the staircase in the LINC library, showing off its wide-open area that lead to “rivers” of books and DVDs. Water is a theme throughout the library. (Dan England/NoCo Optimist)

As with the first floor, the second floor offers a variety of seating and exploration areas for all ages.

“It’s just amazing. Being able to see the books in all these different directions, it makes it seem like there’s millions of them. I love seeing all the books on these waving shelves,” Greeley resident Sue Tjardes said. “I think this open staircase is really wonderful and, of course, the courtyard. I am also excited to see what uses people make out of all of the innovation spaces.”

Despite being located in Greeley, the LINC welcomes visitors from all communities with open doors.

Patrons can enjoy a atrium for a outside reading area also featuring a fireplace or a quiet reading rooms.(Jim Rydbom/Staff Photographer)

Some of the events scheduled to take place at the LINC include:

Power Tower Architect Challenge — 2 p.m. Thursday, June 1

Come Together to Create! — 2 p.m. Saturday, June 3

Inside Out Paintings — 2 p.m. Thursday, June 8

Light Fantastic — 2 p.m. Saturday, June 10

Friendship Minigolf — 2 p.m. Thursday, June 15

The LINC Library and Innovation Center is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 -5 p.m. Sunday.

To learn more about the LINC, including how to book a room, upcoming events and activities and more, go to .

This article was originally published in Greeley Tribune