In Fall of 2002, the leaders of the City of Phoenix, Councilman Michael Johnson, and South Mountain Community College President Dr. Ken Atwater conceived of a partnership between South Mountain Community College (SMCC) and the City of Phoenix to create a joint library for the community of South Phoenix. Over the course of late 2002 and 2003, City Librarian Toni Garvey and SMCC Library Chair Gary Marks met to consider the feasibility of this undertaking. The new library became a reality when the voters of Maricopa County passed the Maricopa County Community College District bond in 2004 and the Phoenix electorate passed the City of Phoenix bond in 2006.
The planning for the new library began in earnest. Over the course of the next two years, Toni Garvey, Shera Farnham, Assistant City Librarian, Dr. Linda Lujan, SMCC Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Joyce Elsner, SMCC Vice-President of Administrative Affairs, and Jill R. Seymour, SMCC Library and Teaching & Learning Center Division Chair worked together to develop two intergovernmental agreements. The first, Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Phoenix, Arizona and Maricopa Community College District for the Construction and Joint Use of a Public Library on the South Mountain Community College Campus
, was signed in 2008. The second, Agreement for the Operation of the Shared Use Community Library Located on the South Mountain Community College Campus
at 7050 S. 24th Street, Phoenix, Arizona, between City of Phoenix, for and on behalf of the Phoenix Public Library Department and Maricopa County Community College District, for and on behalf of South Mountain Community College, was signed a year later.
By the end of 2008, the Phoenix-based architectural firm of richärd + bauer, llc had been hired to design and build what was now known as the South Mountain Community Library. In addition, Haydon Building Corporation had been hired in the capacity of Construction Management at Risk for the project. The ground breaking for the building occurred on December 2, 2009. While the construction work continued on the building, significant effort began on the development of the operations for this new venture.
In anticipation of the new building, additional employees were added to help with the project. These now included Amy MacPherson, newly named SMCC Library and Teaching & Learning Center Division Chair, and Annette Vigil, Phoenix Public Library Co-manager of the South Mountain Community Library. These individuals as well as many others from Phoenix Public Library, South Mountain Community College, and Maricopa County Community College District worked together to forge the relationships and complete the plans that would make this venture a success.
These efforts culminated in the "soft" opening of the South Mountain Community Library on Tuesday, August 16, 2011. The Grand Opening was celebrated on Saturday, September 24, 2011.