Library long-range planning, 2002

From Wed., Mar. 27 through Friday, Apr. 5, Northfield.org’s Web Cafe hosted a panel discussion and forum on long-range planning for the Northfield Public Library. Panelists included:

Amy Gage, Library long-range planning committee

Dana Graham, Northfield City Council

Adam Gurno, Library long-range planning committee

John Stull, Former Library board member

Lynne Young, Library Director

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Griff Wigley – 09:05pm Mar 24, 2002 CDT (#1 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Panelist self-introductions

Before opening up the discussion to the public, I’d like the panelists to briefly introduce yourselves — whatever you’d like to say about your life in the Northfield area that’s NOT library-related, eg, family, job, civic involvement, leisure interests, etc.

And then say a little bit about your interest in and connection to the Northfield library, if any.

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agage – 07:50pm Mar 25, 2002 CDT (#2 of 63)

Amy Gage, library forum panelist

Amy’s introduction

Brief intro: I am loving my life in Northfield at the base of St. Olaf’s Old Main since I got a job last December as media relations specialist at the college and cut my one-way commute from 40 miles to four blocks. I miss my colleagues and my career in the Cities, where I’ve been a journalist for 20 years, but life feels more complete lately. More “of a piece.”

My husband, David Studer, and I moved to Northfield with our son Sam, then 2, in 1993 when I became editor of the Northfield News. Sam is now 11 and in sixth grade, and our second son, Nate, is a first-grader at Greenvale in the Link program. David is evolving from being an at-home dad and handyman to our 102-year-old house to becoming, at age 50, an elementary teacher. He just got accepted into a master’s program at the University of Minnesota, where he and I met. So life is shifting for all of us, but we are happy here.

Besides the library’s long-range planning committee, I am involved in various committees at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship and teach aerobics and Body Pump three times a week at Olympus Athletic Club. I’ve also served on the Northfield Soccer Board and just joined the board of the League of Women Voters.

Why is the library important? Because I’m an English major and love to read. Because I’ve read to my children virtually every night of their lives, and books are a wonderful connection point. Because the library is out of space, and I want a thoughtful community discussion about that issue. Because the library has been a touchstone for my family and me in the nine years we’ve lived here — and I want to see it continue to develop programs that serve my now-older children as well as it served my then-toddlers.

Thanks for doing this, Griff!

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AdamG – 10:38pm Mar 25, 2002 CDT (#3 of 63)

Library forum panelist

Hi everyone,

Adam Gurno, 27. Member of the Northfield Public Library Board and the Long Range Planning Committee. I’m also involved in the Northfield Linux User Group, among other things.

Sara (my wife) and I moved here December of 2000. You might have seen our picture in the paper in January when we had the New Year’s Baby for Northfield. (Linnea is doing great…)

I’m a involved with the Library because I see an educated citizenry as the foundation of Representational Democracy and our Libraries as the cornerstone of that. What does that mean? Our libraries make America a better place – as go our libraries, so goes America.

But hey, no pressure…

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Lynne – 06:00pm Mar 26, 2002 CDT (#4 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

Lynne’s introduction

Hi,

This is Lynne Young. I have been the director of the Northfield Public Library since 1985 – almost 17 years. Those of you who have lived in the community for a long time will remember that an expanded Library was opened in 1985. I have had the good fortune – and fun and challenges – to be able to guide the growth of our community library since that time. The last 17 years have been a time of phenomenal change in technology and substantial growth in our community. But more about that later.

On a personal note, my husband Jim and I have lived in Northfield since 1978. He came here to teach in the Speech and Theater Department at St. Olaf College. I worked at the Junior High School Media Center during our first two years here – yes, it was a Junior High School then. Then I went to work for the Dakota County Library System. In 1980 when I started working there, people were astonished that I commuted “all the way from Northfield.” Since commuting to Burnsville and beyond is commonplace now, this indicates another change we’ve seen in the last few years.

Jim and I have two children, Erin and Rob, both of whom are college students. Erin is a junior at St. Kate’s, majoring in social work; Rob is a sophomore at St. Olaf, still undecided about his major. Jim spent several of the intervening years in seminary and is now the rector of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Albert Lea.

I suppose that the obvious reason I support the library is because I work there. But at a deeper level I became a librarian because I believe it what libraries are about. I believe in freedom of information, I believe in access to information and to culture – for everyone. I believe that public libraries are the “people’s university,” and that they have played a role in helping people throughout our country to make the most of themselves. In our community I have seen people learn to read in our library, I have seen others learn English, and I have seen children learn to love books and language. I have loved being just a small part of that.

The changes in technology and the growth of our community are pushing us to examine what we want our library to be in the near – and distant – future. A corollary question is, of course, where we want the library to be. I can’t wait to hear what you all have to say.

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Griff Wigley – 11:27pm Mar 26, 2002 CDT (#5 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Welcome, Amy, Adam and Lynne. Dang good to have you here.

John Stull and Dana Graham should be arriving shortly, and then we’ll get rolling.

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jhstull – 07:44am Mar 27, 2002 CDT (#6 of 63)

John Stull, library forum panelist

John’s Introduction

I am a long time North field resident, living here since 1969. I was a member of the Library Board when the 1985 addition to the current Library was built, and active in the public debate over the nature and location of that expansion. I have been involved in community affairs as a City Council member, briefly as Mayor, on the Chamber of Commerce, the old Public Safety committee and am currently a member of the Board of the North field Downtown Development Corporation.

I have been a life-long heavy user of the Library, and continue to this day. I believe the current Library is a jewel, though an over-stuffed one. The building in its current location is a great asset and traffic creator for the downtown, and I would like to see an expansion at this same site.

My wife Sue and I have lived in the east side of town for all the years we’ve been here. We have two daughters; one in St. Paul and one still here in North field. I have recently retired from my long employment at Malt–Meal.

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DANA – 11:47am Mar 27, 2002 CDT (#7 of 63)

Dana Graham, library forum panelist

Dana’s introduction

My wife, Marin, and I moved to Northfield in 1993 when I was offered the position of general manager at Dokmo Ford- Chrysler. We have since had two boys, Luke now 6 and Collin almost 5, who were born at our local hospital. We do love it here.

I was elected to the Northfield City Council in 2000 and though it takes up a lot of my time, I do enjoy it. Marin has her own communication business, A+ Communications, which along with our boys keeps her very busy. I am also on the development committee at the Laura Baker School. One other thing, my wife is an Ole.

I’m looking forward to this discussion for several reasons. I have never done this before in this format and my entire family has great interest in the library. So let’s get it going!

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Griff Wigley – 12:51pm Mar 27, 2002 CDT (#8 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Ready to roll

Greetings John and Dana. Glad you’re here despite those pesky computer problems.

Sheesh, this has got to be a record… all the panelists signed in by noon on the first day. Kudos, all.

Panelists, I’ve adjusted your settings here so that you’re subscribed to this forum folder. Why? So that you can A) use the easy “check messages” button to see what’s new; and B) get full-text email alerts whenever anything new is posted here.

Feel free to adjust these settings yourselves, or let me know what you’d prefer and I’ll tweak them for you.

Next up: I’ve got to send out an issue of the NCO-News to alert the citizenry that you’re all here. And then I’ll put on my moderator hat and ask some opening questions.

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Griff Wigley – 02:18pm Mar 27, 2002 CDT (#9 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

What’s the problem?

Lynne wrote:

“The changes in technology and the growth of our community are pushing us to examine what we want our library to be in the near — and distant — future. A corollary question is, of course, where we want the library to be.”

Can the panelists give us some details on what kinds of growing pains the library is currently having — both in terms of technology as well as space?

To the casual observer (me), it looks like everything’s running smoothly and that the library’s keeping up with the times: Nifty new checkout desk. Many more web-connected computers. A whole wall of DVDs. The only thing missing, IMHO, is a coffee/snack shop.

So what are the specifics of the problem that y’all are seeing developing down the road?

[I followed the link to the Annual Report from the library's home page, thinking there might be some hard facts there. But alas, that was written by Lynne back in May of 1999 - ancient history! Any chance of getting that updated quickly for those of use who want all the details?]

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agage – 11:00pm Mar 27, 2002 CDT (#10 of 63)

Amy Gage, library forum panelist

What’s wrong here?

Griff, you raise a valid point — what’s wrong here? the library seems to be running beautifully — and it’s one that the Long-Range Planning Committee has heard in the Community Conversations we’ve been holding around town. But those conversations also have told us that while people love what’s currently there at the library, they want more: more public meeting spaces, more new nonfiction and fiction books, more room for middle schoolers to have their own space as preschoolers do. And on and on.

We also heard — repeatedly — that people love the current building. But walk around it next time you’re downtown. Where could it expand? (We actually got some really cool answers to that question in our Community Conversations, but I’d rather hear what people say in this virtual conversation first.)

So it’s not that anything is “wrong” per se. I’d say it’s more that the library, like the town’s schools and clinic and hospital — and the community itself — is experiencing growing pains. One librarian told me that for every new book that is purchased, another book has to be pulled off the shelf. That’s going to make for some tough choices if the library is going to stay current. — Amy Gage

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Lynne – 07:21am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#11 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

Griff,

Thanks for the opportunity to answer that question. Amy has already answered part of it: the shelves are already full and there aren’t any good places left to put more shelves. So, anytime we want to add a new item we have to think about what we will get rid of. For example, I’ve been trying to “weed” the mysteries, meaning that I have been discarding books that are not valuable to the collection. Difficult to do – and I had a conversation with a library user last week who was genuinely distressed because I had chosen to weed a particular author who was quite popular in the 50′s and 60′s but hasn’t been going out well lately. These are choices we are forced to make all the time.

Other examples: We got rid of some seating space upstairs to make room for the spinners that hold the library’s non-fiction video collection and we had to discard most of our pamphlet file (sometimes called a vertical file) in order to make room for the new Gates computers. (We were able to pare down the pamphlet file so much precisely because much of that kind of material is now available via the Internet.) There is barely room to walk in the children’s room – one of the most heavily used parts of the library – because of all the bins and shelves that hold our collection. Computer space is maxed out, too, and the computers we have are usually busy. And, perhaps most importantly, libraries need space for people, too!

I have lots more numbers – the up-to-date statistics that Griff asked for among them – that I will bring into the discussion later. But, I think I’ve said enough for now.

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mcolling – 09:41am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#12 of 63)

Library space and other thoughts.

I use the library frequently myself, and LOVE the building, but one thing I have noticed is that I rarely see mexican-americans there. Most times I have been to the library there aren’t ANY, and I am curious to hear possible reasons why this is so. I see many mexican-americans at Olympus, at any given time chances are there is one on the next piece of equipment or next to me in a class. Sure, it takes more time to work out than go to the library, and I have noticed that there are more spanish books for children at the library, but haven’t noticed any periodicals or novels in spanish. I may be completely wrong on this point though!!! It’s been a while since I looked.

I also agree that the possibilities for expanding at the current site are limited, and the engineering and construction costs to add onto the current building would be tremendous. I would like to see a branch of the NPL created in the northwestern area of town (near Greenvale Park Elem) and another created in the southeast or southwest areas of town. I think an even better idea would be to create these satellites as community centers, with meeting space and/or areas for groups to meet, such as neighborhood groups, children’s clubs, etc. Some people may think that would be redundant close to an elementary school – guess again. I managed an after-school group at GVP this year and at the beginning of the time we were told there was NO SPACE AVAILABLE after school, that we would have to meet in the hallways. Well, my group ended up sharing the cafeteria with ASU for 1/2 hour after school, I know another group received permission to use a teacher’s room but that is generally discouraged. I believe other groups used space in churches, but I see a conflict in bringing students to a house of worship for a school-sponsored organization, especially when some of them are non-christian, etc…

I think a branch in the NW area of Northfield may be easier to access, especially for children living in walking distance from GVP in the trailer courts and low-income housing. Not only is there a parking problem at the current library, I believe it is not a safe place for children to cross the street. While I’m at it, I may as well state that I am worried every summer about children on bicycles from west of Hwy 3 riding to the pool. I like to see kids on bikes in the summer, but I don’t think drivers are as aware as they should be, I hate crossing Hwy 3 on foot myself, and the kids who ride on Hwy 3 near the Dairy Queen must have 9 lives for all the near-accidents and reckless maneuvers I have seen in the past 6 years.

By the way, I don’t live in NW northfield. -Mera Colling.

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ribbon – 09:42am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#13 of 63)

Robin Hart, Libray board member

Another perspective…

Another thing to keep in mind is that the question really is NOT what is wrong with the library, but what will be wrong in 5 years…10 years…if we don’t begin to be proactive today.

The population of Northfield is changing – I’ve noticed that in just a few short years in town. Can/does our library reflect that in its current incarnation? Take a look at the collection in Spanish for just one example of necessary growth. As difficult as it is to be all things for all people, that’s exactly what many people come to expect from a library: a resource, a gathering place, a community forum, (sadly, sometimes a free baby-sitting service)and numerous other things. How might this list change in the next several years?

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Tim Noble – 11:02am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#14 of 63)

I am reading many correspondents addressing the lack of space to expand on the initial site. I did a calculation of the existing site area as well as the area of the existing library. I found that the library could expand by as much as three times its current size on the existing site. This could be done by bringing the library down to Division Street and continuing the cityscape that makes downtown Northfield so inviting and removing the concrete bunkers that are placed there currently. When you stroll down Division street you are surrounded by three story buildings that make up a beautiful cityscape that is abruptly interrupted when you reach the library. Although the library is very nice, why not bring it down to Division and make it inviting for people to enter at the Division Street level, continuing the cityscape and fulfilling the needs for additional space within the existing site. It is a feasible and excellent solution to this “lack of space” on the existing site.

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DANA – 11:35am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#15 of 63)

Dana Graham, library forum panelist

downtown expansion; NCRC branch

There have been some good points made so far. Tim’s point about bringing the library down to Division St. is one that I have heard from several people around town. Along with that I’ve had discussions with some who ask why we can’t expand to the south and eliminate the road there. Of course, this may not be very popular with many considering parking availability downtown but it makes for a good discussion.

Also, the idea of a branch is an interesting one. One thought that I had is opening a branch in the NCRC. This would make it very accessible to students and many seniors. Just a thought. Back for more later.

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Griff Wigley – 11:38am Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#16 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Welcome to Tim, Mera, and ribbon! Good to have you chiming in.

NOTE TO ALL: Since the audience is invisible here, I’ll occasionally post a note on the number of different/unique people who’ve visited this discussion — the online equivalent of how many people are “in the audience.”

As of 11 am today: 28

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Griff Wigley – 12:23pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#17 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Misc questions

Lots of questions and issues for our panelists (and anyone else) to address. (Suggestion: If you have a comment on more than one of these, put them in separate posts rather than a single post, as it makes it easier to refer to later.)

Amy wrote:

more public meeting spaces

Has this need been addressed by the huge number of meeting rooms at the Northfield Community Resource Center (NCRC) which is a public facility owned and managed by the City of Northfield? The City manages the access and use of the building’s public and shared spaces.

Amy wrote:

more room for middle schoolers to have their own space as preschoolers do

Can we hear more about why this is important, and maybe pointers to other libraries in MN where this has been done?

Lynne wrote:

anytime we want to add a new item we have to think about what we will get rid of… I had a conversation with a library user last week who was genuinely distressed because I had chosen to weed a particular author who was quite popular in the 50′s and 60′s but hasn’t been going out well lately. These are choices we are forced to make all the time.

Is this necessarily bad though? Seems like a reasonable thing to expect any organization that serves the public to do, ie, keep assessing what’s used and what’s not and pruning accordingly.

Mera wrote:

one thing I have noticed is that I rarely see mexican-americans there. Most times I have been to the library there aren’t ANY, and I am curious to hear possible reasons why this is so. Ribbon wrote: Take a look at the collection in Spanish for just one example of necessary growth.

Panelists, does the library have any demographic data on library users? (Is the word ‘patron’ still acceptable?) And what’s the library’s policy re: expanding the collection of books in Spanish for the Hispanic community?

Tim wrote:

I did a calculation of the existing site area as well as the area of the existing library. I found that the library could expand by as much as three times its current size on the existing site.

Tim, most people don’t know that you’re the owner of the building that’s immediately north of the library. Can you give us a little history on your communications with the City of Northfield regarding its interest in buying your property in order to expand the library?

Dana wrote:

One thought that I had is opening a branch in the NCRC. This would make it very accessible to students and many seniors. Mera wrote: I would like to see a branch of the NPL created in the northwestern area of town (near Greenvale Park Elem) and another created in the southeast or southwest areas of town

Can the panelists point to any MN cities similar in size to Northfield that have created branches… and what’s been their experience with them, pro and con?

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ribbon – 03:03pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#18 of 63)

Robin Hart, Libray board member

A library branch?

As another member of the library board (Robin Hart, so as not to be anonymous), I will raise the point that we have on several occasions talked about the possibility of a branch, and have moved away from that idea for several reasons, the greatest of which were bugetary. A branch in Northfield would provide lots more space, but would also require lots more staff, twice the equipment, double the budget for utilities, and some provision for inter-library transport within the city. My fear is that, once all of these things were provided, we’d be left with very very few books on the shelves.

We also have looked into the issue of bringing the library down to the street – but if I recall correctly, significant city infrastructre runs through that space, which eliminated it as a possibility. (Adam, Lynn, am I mis-remembering?) A thought that I have had more than once would entail converting the library meeting room to some different format, and perhaps using that space for middleschoolers. Of course, this would leave the Friends and others who make frequent use of that space, homeless. While there are other spaces in town where meetings could be held (Arts Guild? Other?), if the library is truly a gathering space of our community, it seems essential that there be spaces to gather there. (Another down side being that this is not a space that is easily supervised, which might be desirable).

I think the library has done a great job of expanding beyond the boundaries created by four walls – both Booker and the program which delivers books to shut-ins are examples of this. What other opportunities for this type of growth/expansion can we think of?

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Tim Noble – 04:42pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#19 of 63)

To give a brief history, Leanne and I moved to Northfield in 1995. Leanne purchased Dr. Goehtz’s Chiropractic Clinic at 205 Division Street and took over in the spring of 1995. In the purchase agreement we included that we had first right of refusal on the building if Dr. Goehtz were to sell. This was a key factor in the purchase of the clinic. I have worked for architectural firms in Northfield since 1995, and have an understanding of the scope of such an expansion project for the library.

With this said, we initially heard of the library expansion to the north over KYMN radio in 1999 from Lynne Young. This immediately caused concern for us since we had not yet purchased the building. We addressed Lynne Young about the issue to which she responded, “This will not happen for at least 5 years”. We told Lynne that if indeed we did purchase the property, we would not be interested in selling it. In January of 2000 Leanne and I purchased the building.

Three months later during the discussion of the Rec center referendum there was discussion of adding money in for the library. This once again concerned me so I attended a meeting to re-iterate that we were not interested in selling the building. It sounded as if the library funds would not be included. At the last minute the library funding was include in the referendum. I had sent Scott Neal a letter regarding this issue, in which he responded in brief: “If you knew the library wanted the building, why did you buy it?” I had also asked, “On what basis do you conclude expanding to the north is the best option?” Mr. Neal responded, “Lynne and I feel this is the best option”. There was no more explanation. I still have not heard an explanation.

For the last several months we have been trying to rent 1,000 square feet that had been vacated in the building. The main concern of prospective renters was that of the library expansion. This would have been avoided had the library not discussed the expansion to the north. I also was contacted by Lynne Young earlier this year through a local realtor asking if we were interested in selling the building. I once again replied to the realtor that we were not interested. Lynne had then responded that she had heard that we were selling the building. Once again, I told here we have no intention of selling the building.

So in as brief as a format as possible this is the history between myself and the city of Northfield.

Robin wrote:

“We also have looked into the issue of bringing the library down to the street – but if I recall correctly, significant city infrastructure runs through that space, which eliminated it as a possibility.”

More than likely the infrastructure runs through Division Street, with a connection of the library to this infrastracture through this space, keeping this as a possibility? I feel this would be a better solution than condemning a property, displacing two businesses, two tenants (one of which has been a business owner in Northfield for 50+ years), and removing property from the tax base.

I am interested to hear from the long range committee what they have come up with? Are their meeting minutes available?

To re-iterate, we are not interested in selling the building.

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Griff Wigley – 04:56pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#20 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Library photos

I’ve put up a series of pictures of all sides of the library that I took this afternoon.

Click on any of the thumbnails for a full-size photo and if you refer to them in your post, use the #s. For example:

See the shot of the concrete retaining wall, photo #12.

or else copy/paste the URL here:

http://nco.northfield.mn.us/library12lg.jpg

For easy reference, I’ve linked to the photo page in the header of this discussion topic (gray box).

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Griff Wigley – 05:22pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#21 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Robin, good to have you identify yourself — another library board member! I’ll add that to your Preferences so it shows up in the header of your posts.

Tim, thanks much for that detailed history… very helpful and I appreciate it that you worded it respectfully.

From here on, though, be sure to address Lynne Young and anyone else directly, as if they’re sitting in your living room discussing this, eg, “Lynne, can you explain why….” and not “I wish Lynne Young would explain why…” For the rationale on this, see the Web Cafe’s Community Guidelines at http://www.northfield.org/cafe/guidelines.html

Lynne, likewise, if you have things that you disagree with Tim about re: his history of dealings with the City, be sure to address him directly.

Ok, back to the discussion.

Audience in attendance: 40 unique (and I’m sure, quite nice) individuals!

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Lynne – 09:48pm Mar 28, 2002 CDT (#22 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

It seems to be time for me to weigh in again. I’d like to start with addressing the issue of the Noble’s building which lies to the north of the library. Tim, at Griff’s request you gave a quick overview of the communications between us regarding your building. I would just like to clarify a couple of things. Scott Neal and I had spoken to Dr. Goehtz before you purchased the building. We knew you had an option to buy, but we were not privy to WHEN you were going to buy the building. In the interview on KYMN radio, I spoke about possibilities – and stated what I thought was logical – expansion to the north. I was clear that this was just thinking out aloud and that we had, as yet, no agreement to buy the building. This still seems logical to me because, given the way the library building is currently laid out, we can expand the adult stacks and the children’s room to the north without rearranging or remodeling other areas.

I appreciate your ideas about other possibilities for expanding the library on the current site. I heartily agree with you that the library needs a presence on Division St. I think the current stairs are difficult to navigate and not particularly welcoming – and I have never liked the “fortress” feel of the walls. In addition, although the building is handicapped accessible on the Washington St. side, I think street level access from Division St. to an elevator would be more easily manageable. The library is built on bedrock, and construction down to the Division St. level could be difficult and expensive. I think it’s an important option to consider, however.

Should we think about opening a branch or branches? Robin gave a thoughtful response about the potential to overextend our resources. Northfield probably is too small a community to support branches. It is very expensive to staff, heat, cool and provide the necessary library technology in each facility. Most metropolitan branch libraries serve areas as large or larger than Northfield. No other library in southeastern Minnesota – including Rochester Public – has branches within the community. Owatonna does, however, run a branch library in Blooming Prairie, and Rochester provides a full bookmobile schedule. I think we could accomplish a few things that are done in branches by doing more with the bookmobile. Nevertheless, I think we should look at the potential costs and benefits of a branch to see if this is feasible.

This is probably enough from me right now. I’ll be back tomorrow with some statistics about the high level of use our library gets, and I’ll respond to the question about the use of the library by Latinos.

Lynne Young

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AdamG – 08:23am Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#23 of 63)

Library forum panelist

[About the Library providing meeting rooms...]

Has this need been addressed by the huge number of meeting rooms at the Northfield Community Resource Center (NCRC) which is a public facility owned and managed by the City of Northfield?

As someone who has scheduled local meetings, I can tell you from a personal experience that the NCRC is simply too inconvenient wrt the library location, especially when it comes to college students. The location of the library as a ‘common area’ was something that we heard in our ‘Community Conversations’ quite often – this was often tied to it’s current location.

Panelists, does the library have any demographic data on library users? [...] And what’s the library’s policy re: expanding the collection of books in Spanish for the Hispanic community?

One of the things that we explicitly tried to do when meeting with community groups was to meeting with Hispanic groups. (Perhaps Lynne has statistics on patrons, but as a community I can tell you that Nfld is about 94.5% white, 5% Hispanic and 0.5% ‘other’. (At least according to the census.) We managed two, one of which I attended.

In the short term, I think is that a campaign to simply get the word out that we have Spanish materials (and a Spanish language computer) available and to educate recent immigrants as to how the US library system works. At the group that I was at, many people were aware that you could even take books out, much less that we had DVDs, music and other materials available.

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Griff Wigley – 10:08am Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#24 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Lynne wrote:

Northfield probably is too small a community to support branches. It is very expensive to staff, heat, cool and provide the necessary library technology in each facility

re: Dana’s inquiry earlier about the NCRC being a possible branch location — would that location mitigate those factors somewhat since heating, cooling, and Internet access/infrastructure are all in place? Would ALL the services of the main library would have to be replicated at the branch?

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Griff Wigley – 10:22am Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#25 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Adam wrote:

As someone who has scheduled local meetings, I can tell you from a personal experience that the NCRC is simply too inconvenient wrt the library location, especially when it comes to college students.

Adam, why is the Nfld Library used by college students for meetings? Carleton and St. Olaf students both? Or have I misunderstood something?

The location of the library as a ‘common area’ was something that we heard in our ‘Community Conversations’ quite often – this was often tied to it’s current location.

I can see how that’s very true now, but couldn’t the NCRC now be considered a commons, too? Lots going on there with seniors, alternative HS, CAC, Three Rivers, Community Ed classes, ESL classes, etc. Plus, it’s nestled amongst the High School, Bridgewater Elementary and soon the new Middle School.

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DANA – 01:09pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#26 of 63)

Dana Graham, library forum panelist

Branch at NCRC; downtown expansion

We know we are not going to be able to please everyone as far as a convenient meeting place. The NCRC was built in a part of town that will see our greatest growth. We need to really make it a ” community resource”. I haven’t heard a compelling argument against a branch in this location as of yet.

As far as expanding the current location, as a councilperson, I am against the city putting any pressure on the owners to the north. They purchased the building with their own plan in mind, and while I believe there is a price for everything they should not feel as if they are being forced to sell. So, my belief is that at the present time we should eliminate that option from the discussion. Looking forward to more.

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ribbon – 02:05pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#27 of 63)

Robin Hart, Libray board member

College Students and the Library

WRT Carleton and Olaf Students and the library – these students provide programming in the library that serves the greater community – whether Carleton students’ Saturday morning story hour, or Olaf students’ work with the Homework Cafe. In addition, there are many, many students at both colleges who either volunteer as tutors or tutor through more structured programs – and who utilize the library as a safe meeting space (to protect both the tutor and the tutored).

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agage – 03:34pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#28 of 63)

Amy Gage, library forum panelist

Middle schoolers’ needs

Griff and Robin, I believe you both raised a question about what middle schoolers might need at the library that they aren’t getting. Again, this seems to be a case of expanding on what the library already is doing well (Homework Cafe, a good if cramped juveile fiction section, etc.).

As the mother of a sixth-grade boy, I want to keep this age group reading — and I want boys, especially, to think reading and the library are cool. (J.K. Rowling gave us a head start here.) I also conducted the “Community Conversation” with the board of the Middle School Youth Activity Center — the wonderful resource that Susan Sanderson and others have launched in the Masonic Lodge just south of St. Dominic’s. This is an awkward, potentially vulnerable age. The kids want some independence, but they can’t yet drive. The library is a safe place to hang out, both because it’s familiar and it’s close to their school. And my sense at the “Conversation” was that they really wanted some ownership at the library — the proverbial “room of one’s own.” They don’t just want a teen room; they want some say over noise policies, which magazines and books are stocked, whether popcorn is allowed, etc.

We don’t appear to have room unless the building is expanded or the library goes to a different location, but I think this is an important demographic to keep in mind. And an expanded middle-school program (including more volunteering for these kids) would fit in nicely with the Middle School Youth Activity Center and with Scott Richardson’s active-parenting network, etc. So I want to be a voice for this age group. The Youth Activity Center kids were just thrilled to be included in the Community Conversations — and they had some cool ideas.

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AdamG – 04:58pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#29 of 63)

Library forum panelist

Adam, why is the Nfld Library used by college students for meetings? Carleton and St. Olaf students both? Or have I misunderstood something?

Sorry, I must not have made myself clear – The library was ideal when scheduling something that included students of both schools and citizens of the community. The other factor is that it was free whereas the CRC isn’t. (The CRC charges a small fee – $5, IIRC.)

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Griff Wigley – 06:21pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#30 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Economic development

Ok, panelists, you’re doing a great job answering my questions.

Those of you “in the audience” reading along (now up to 52), don’t hesitate to jump in with comments and questions of your own.

Are there economic development considerations for the Library? Has the Economic Development Authority (EDA) or the Chamber of Commerce or the Nfld Downtown Development Council (NDDC) expressed any opinions about the library’s expansion/location?

I’m assuming that those with an interest in maintaining a vital downtown want the library to stay where it is and expand there but is that a valid assumption?

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Griff Wigley – 06:29pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#31 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Library board minutes

Tim, you asked whether Library Board minutes were available.

All I see are the minutes for Dec 18, 2001 at:

http://209.163.42.1/Boards/library/library_board.htm

I found other Y2001 minutes (a few somewhat mangled!) at:

http://209.163.42.1/Boards/library/2001/

Board members, have their been meetings since the Dec 18 meeting and if so, can someone post an attachment here… or email me and I’ll post them?

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jhstull – 07:36pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#32 of 63)

John Stull, library forum panelist

Dana, I really don’t think we should limit our discussion about a possible downtown expansion of the Library. If we conclude that a downtown location for expansion best serves the needs of Library customers and the City of Northfield, then we should seek a way to accomplish that outcome.

It does sound as if the discussion with Tim Nobles got off to a bad start, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a solution that will meet his needs as well as those of the Library. Also, there may be attractive downtown expansion possibilities to the south of the building, including the option of underground parking in the area currently occupied by third street.

Let’s not put any arbitrary limits on the possibilities.

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Griff Wigley – 09:03pm Mar 29, 2002 CDT (#33 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Question #1 from an audience member: Is adding another story (expanding upward) on the library a viable option… cheaper than excavating the bedrock to expand downward?

Question #2 from an audience member: What’s in the basement of the library now? (Is there a basement?) Could whatever is in the basement be moved elsewhere so the space could be used for expansion? Is off-site storage of lesser used materials an option?

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DANA – 09:49am Mar 30, 2002 CDT (#34 of 63)

Dana Graham, library forum panelist

Please don’t misunderstand what I meant. I am all for discussing expansion especially to the south but, not to the north under the present circumstances.

As far as expanding upward, we have to remember this is a historic district and as such may have some limits that have to be taken into consideration. It would be nice to hear from someone with knowledge in that area.

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Lynne – 09:52am Mar 30, 2002 CDT (#35 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

This is Lynne Young again with responses to some of the questions posed above.

Is adding another story (expanding upward) on the library a viable option… cheaper than excavating the bedrock to expand downward?

I do not know about the engineering and architectural issues involved with an additional story. I do know that we would need to staff a third floor to provide assistance and supervision. This isn’t a reason not to do it – just a cost factor. I think it would be possible to divide the collection or service areas of the library to work in a three-story building. I have some questions of my own. 1) How do you think a three-story building would look from the outside? The library is already as tall as the Archer House. Would it be too dominating? 2) Would using a three-story building feel less welcoming and comfortable than the current two-story building?

Dana’s inquiry earlier about the NCRC being a possible branch location — would that location mitigate those factors somewhat since heating, cooling, and Internet access/infrastructure are all in place? Would ALL the services of the main library would have to be replicated at the branch?

The NCRC charges for space, and regardless of whether or not the library is a city agency, we would be charged for space, so expenses like heating, cooling, telephone and computer lines would be duplicated. These are major expenses for the library. The largest expense for the library is staff, and this would be duplicated as well. The collection is the most difficult thing to judge. We would need to develop a collection that would meet the needs of the people who will use this facility and we would need to have a daily (or perhaps more often) delivery from the main library. We would probably not need to duplicate an extensive reference collection, but we would need access to ALL electronic resources and this means having computers available.

When the idea for the NCRC came up, I actually DID talk about putting a small branch out there with a popular paperback collection and self check-out and monitoring. I didn’t go very far with this because there were so many other needs that had to be accommodated.

A branch ANYWHERE will cost dollars – and lots of them. What this planning process is about, though, is finding out what people in our community want and getting lots of ideas about how we can provide the best service. Let’s think big and worry about the $$ later.

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Griff Wigley – 07:34am Mar 31, 2002 CDT (#36 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

The Saturday March 30 Northfield News included two articles by reporter Dennis Sowers about the library’s long-range planning efforts, including one entirely of quotes from participants here.

Thanks, Dennis. Your coverage boosted attendance here by 50%. Total in audience: 73.

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AdamG – 08:44am Mar 31, 2002 CDT (#37 of 63)

Library forum panelist

Since we’ve touched upon renovating and building new, either as a whole or with branches, let me toss out the other idea that was float during our Community Conversations – moving into an existing location. Specifically, the soon-to-be-empty Petricka’s. (Or the soon-to-be-empty Econo, if they move to Petricka’s) Lots of parking, still ‘downtown’, lots of space. Minuses would be the cost of renovation, the possible availability of either and the fact that the city would have to deal with a different empty building downtown.

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Griff Wigley – 09:24am Mar 31, 2002 CDT (#38 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

re: moving into an existing location

And is the soon-to-be-empty middle school an option as well, Adam? I know the recommendation was to use it for a variety of arts-related purposes, but I don’t remember if that would entail using the entire building.

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AdamG – 11:36am Mar 31, 2002 CDT (#39 of 63)

Library forum panelist

Sure the Middle School is another option. As is the Hospital.

Just off the cuff though, I’d say that both of them are too big for us, and partitioned slightly inconveniently. If anything, the hospital and the school are built a little too well and renovating those would cost just as much as building a new one.

I might be wrong – I’m just guessing.

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ChrisR – 12:09pm Mar 31, 2002 CDT (#40 of 63)

Chris Robbins, Nature & Environment Host

Keep a great building

In the St. Olaf art building there was an exhibit recently showing Steve Edwins’ plans for the beautiful 1980s expansion of the library. Interestingly, at the time, the city asked for plans to be drawn up that would also include a new city hall. The closure of 3rd St. was part of that design. Even though 3rd St. is used for parking now, there are plans for a parking ramp nearby, so that problem shouldn’t be insoluble.

The library is the building in Northfield that I love best. In the 80s I thought not many people shared my affection for buildings of that era; victorians were all the rage. Now, I have lots of company. We see new houses mimicking the Arts & Crafts and Prairie style architecture, and even furniture and lamps to match. Northfield did the right thing in keeping our library, and we should continue to do so. I love sitting by the sunny windows reading the newspapers. The reading spaces are just the right scale and configuration to make people feel at home, and being able to look out over the city is an added benefit. It’s a sad thought that those wonderful spaces could be taken away from the public and turned into a private office or some other use.

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agage – 06:52am Apr 1, 2002 CDT (#41 of 63)

Amy Gage, library forum panelist

Move to Middle School?

Griff, you asked whether the current Middle School is a possibility. I’d love to hear that question answered by someone in our virtual audience who belongs to the Middle School Re-Use Committee.

When I conducted the “Community Conversation” with the executive board of the Northfield Downtown Development Corp., someone in that group who’s familiar with the Middle School committee said we should not put the library there — that the hope instead is for a community gym, some sort of arts center??

Could someone else speak to that?

Adam, as to your point about relocating the library into what is now a grocery story — as preposterous as that sounds, on the surface, I understand that Farmington did it. I also heard strong support for that idea in some “Community Conversations,” provided the current library building would be preserved and used for a City Hall or some other purpose that continued to bring many people in and out of it.

Just as you say, Lynne, that we need to dream big and not worry about money at this point, I also think we need to look at all possibilities about library expansion and/or relocation.

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Griff Wigley – 08:45am Apr 1, 2002 CDT (#42 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Welcome, Chris. As a member of the Planning Commission, it’s good to have your comments. Can you give us more detail about the parking ramp plans for the 3rd St area you mentioned?

Amy, re: Middle School reuse, I’ve asked Steve Wilmot from SMSQ to give us an update.

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Lynne – 06:50pm Apr 1, 2002 CDT (#43 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

Hi, this is Lynne Young again with a few more responses to questions that have been posed recently.

Regarding the use of the library by people of Mexican-American descent (or any Latino background, for that matter), I am very interested in finding out what kinds of materials they would like to have available to them. We do get Newsweek in Spanish and La Prensa from the Twin Cities. We have one Spanish computer which gets very regular use – and through which news of events in Mexico and the rest of Latin America are readily available. Our Spanish book collection for adults is extremely limited, but we do have DVDs with Spanish as an option. Many Latinos use the video and DVD collection. There is a better selection of Spanish materials for both adults and children on Booker, and this is where we see the heaviest use from the Latino community. I know Adam has gathered some ideas from the Community Conversations, but we need some good ideas about how to get the word out about the services we do offer and to solicit ideas from the Latino community about what services they need or would use.

Regarding the question about library board minutes: the city’s server has just been replaced. We have not been able to access the library’s portion of the web page for a couple of months. I think that there may have been some similar problems with updating the minutes, etc., on the city’s web page. In any case, the Library Board minutes are available in hard copy at the library. The Library Board is an advisory board that adopts policies and advocated on library issues. The board does not have fiduciary or administrative responsibilities as a Board of Trustees would have.

Chris, thanks for your comments about the current library building. I have always thought that SMSQ did a fabulous job of adding on to the old building and I love the “feel” of the building. I also want to thank Amy for encouraging all of us on the planning committee to be open to ideas and to be willing to respond to what we hear.

Some brief statistics about the library:

In 1985, the year the remodeled library opened, we checked out just over 100,000 items. In 2001, we checked out over 305,000 items at the library and over 17,000 items on Booker, for a total of 322,000+. We answered over 20,000 reference questions last year. The population of Northfield in 1980, when planning for the building expansion began, was just over 12,000. In 1990 it was 14,684; in 2000 it was 17,100+. In just those 20, years, we have seen an increase of over 40% in our population, and we’ve more than tripled the circulation of library items. In addition, besides Northfield itself, the library serves all of northern Rice County and much of southern Dakota County, an area that is also growing very quickly. What should we do about service outside of the City? Adam, did you talk to a group from Lonsdale? I’d like to hear more about that conversation if you did.

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ChrisR – 12:08pm Apr 2, 2002 CDT (#44 of 63)

Chris Robbins, Nature & Environment Host

Here’s more info about the parking. The city hired Walker Parking Consulatants to do a downtown parking study, which was completed at the end of August. They recommended building a parking deck behind Jacobsens’ (net gain of 147 spaces, $1.7 million) and a parking lot behind the Quarterback Club & Quizno’s (112 spaces, $201,600). They suggested building the west side lot first to help with parking while the deck is being built. Dana, can you tell us if the Council has taken any action on this study?

Lynne, Robin and Adam, your responses to people’s suggestions seem rather negative at times. Expanding the library out to Division St., over 3rd St., upwards, or to the north are all called impractical. A branch is deemed too expensive. Moving to the old Middle School or hospital is also called impractical because of the size and difficulty of remodeling. What’s left? Do you have a preference? I have to say I don’t relish the options of a windowless supermarket building or a new location at the edge of town.

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agage – 02:13pm Apr 2, 2002 CDT (#45 of 63)

Amy Gage, library forum panelist

Southward, ho?

Hi, everybody — I’m spending part of a much-needed afternoon off reviewing all the messages here. Lots of good thoughts.

Tim and Dana, you mentioned expansion to the south. We heard pretty strong support for this possibility in the Community Conversations (although, yes, some concern about lost parking). The Middle Schoolers want a “ski lift” to connect the current library and an expansion building across Third Street. A less fun but more realistic option came from a recent Rotary meeting, and I’m wondering if someone from the city or another property owner could address this possibility:

Build a parking ramp and additional library building across Third Street, in what is now a parking lot. Perhaps even include the ReMAX building that’s on the southeast corner of Division and Third. Tim, you say your building to the north is not for sale. So can anyone in our virtual audience or on the panel address the feasibility of the southward expansion? Thanks.

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ribbon – 03:49pm Apr 2, 2002 CDT (#46 of 63)

Robin Hart, Libray board member

What next?

In my ideal world, the library expands into The Grand, and is connected by a skywalk. The upper level is shelving space, the main entry to The Grand becomes a coffee shop The stage area is used as a meeting room where all of the visiting authors do their readings and book signings, where performance artists and folk musicians do their thing, where town meetings are held, and where, every so often, puppet shows or other kid-friendly performances happen. Oh, and wouldn’t it be great to have a movie house for artsy movies. The first Friday of every month, perhaps?

Chris, I am sorry if I have come across as negative – it was certainly not my intention. I myself would love to see the same thing happen, and, more than anything else was sharing my disappointment that I had been told previously that it wasn’t feasible. One drawback of electronic communication – the tone is not always conveyed. Regardless, I came across as negative, and thanks for calling me on it.

I have done a lot of thinking outside the box, to the point of exploring what possible uses there could be for the current Booker in some semi-permanent state- if, of course, a new bookmobile were purchased. Some standing site near the new hospital? Who knows. I do know that I have one small friend who has spent more than her fair share of time in hospital waiting rooms, and I could easily envision her enjoying the escape of a library. Is that idea a bit out there? Probably. I’d love to hear what other thoughts, no matter how outlandish, others have had.

Robin

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Steve Wilmot – 05:34pm Apr 2, 2002 CDT (#47 of 63)

Panelist; SMSQ

Middle School Reuse Plus

Hello,

I am Steve Wilmot and I was a one of the consultants to the Middle School Reuse Committee. I may be putting words in Lynne’s mouth, but the library did not seem to think that the Middle School spaces suited their needs, and did not wish to establish a secondary location for either circulation or off site storage.

The configuation of spaces in the Middle School – the majority of it being classrooms, lends itself to conversion to housing, studios, or offices, as this requires the least amount of work to the building. Other areas such as the locker rooms, auditorium, or gym are probably best used as they are now or in a similar fashion. They would be even less suitable for library space.

I would like to second John Stull’s point that it is too early in the discussion to limit our options regarding the library expansion at the existing site, in fact I think there could be some very nice features to expanding on the present site – especially building down to Division St as many have mentioned. One point to note, is that the building to the North of the library already does come down to the street, so it would seem that this is not too difficult to do.

I would like to expand on an excellent point made by Dana, that the area south of downtown is going to experience a great deal of growth. I think that this is certainly true and it should not be ignored. That being said, I don’t automatically think that that warrants a branch library at the NCRC.

I actually think it is an even stronger argument for expanding the existing library. The expanding tax base to the south is new construction on open land, which is the sort of growth that can fuel itself. Having a part or a whole library there will not add to the economic growth of that part of town. Expanding the library at its present site, will however, promote more growth downtown, maintaining and expanding the tax base where the infrastructure is already in place, except for adequate parking, but there is a plan awaiting implementation by the city council for this.

The important point to remember regarding the city’s growth, is that if it only happens in a few neighborhoods, then others will begin to decay, and the decay of downtown will have serious implications to the city’s tax base. St. Paul recently realized a several hundred million dollar increase to its downtown tax base due to municipal improvements there after several years of decay and major employers like West Publishing moving to the suburbs. This allows the city to keep resident’s property taxes at a lower level than the would be otherwise.

I have also read in these postings of a desire to have a branch to the Northwest. While it would be nice for every neighborhood, or even a few, to have a branch library, if even a city as large as Rochester hasn’t seen fit to do it, I don’t see that Northfield can expect to pursue this route effectively. There is a lot to be said for concentrating the library’s resources and getting the most out of them, as others have said better than I have.

Keep up the great discussion, panelists!

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Lynne – 06:48pm Apr 2, 2002 CDT (#48 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

Chris,

Like Robin, I did not intend to be negative. I was trying to be realistic and to provide background information that I have because I have worked in libraries in Minnesota for a long time. A lot of these ideas could work – and work very well! I’ll try to be more positive because I really do want to hear ideas.

Lynne

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Griff Wigley – 06:32am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#49 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Chris wrote:

Dana, can you tell us if the Council has taken any action on this [downtown parking] study?

I had no idea of this! Thanks, Chris. Dana, can you update us?

Amy wrote:

So can anyone in our virtual audience or on the panel address the feasibility of the southward expansion?

Good question, Amy.

Chris wrote:

Lynne, Robin and Adam, your responses to people’s suggestions seem rather negative at times.

Yikes, did I fail in my moderating duties to reign in these darn naysayers? ;-) Actually, I think we’re probably NOT in a pure brainstorming mode here, but more of examine-the-pros-and-cons mode. I probably should have made that more clear at the beginning. So don’t hesitate to suggest pie-in-the-sky ideas (the Grand Theater scenario is very cool, Robin) but also invite and expect comments on the pros and cons of them.

We continue to get lots of new audience members reading along, esp folks just visiting as guests (not registering). Total: 129.

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Griff Wigley – 06:34am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#50 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Steve Wilmot, thanks much for that detailed update… and for chiming in on the issues.

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Griff Wigley – 09:58am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#51 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Empty medical buildings

Once the new hospital opens, I think both the Allina Medical Clinic and the Center for Sports Medicine & Rehab buildings on Jefferson will be vacant. Are there plans for these buildings already? Who owns them? What are the pros and cons for relocating the library to one of them?

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Griff Wigley – 10:01am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#52 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Last three days

This forum ends on Friday evening, so it’s time to consider:

A) What issues and questions are still ‘hanging’ and need more discussion/answers? If you’ve already raised an issue but don’t think it’s gotten sufficient attention, please bring it up again.

B) What new issues and questions need attention before we end?

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Griff Wigley – 10:03am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#53 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Expansion dollars

The one issue that everyone seems to agree on is that the library needs to expand physically, either at its current downtown location or at some other location — a branch and/or a wholly new location.

How would an expansion be paid for?

How was the last expansion in 1985 paid for – 100% bond issue?

The NCRC building was built with a combination of public and private money. Is that an option for the library?

What might be the timing for this expansion?

With construction of both the new hospital and middle school underway, are there other building projects in the foreseeable future that might compete for public construction dollars?

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Griff Wigley – 10:11am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#54 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Timetable; ongoing citizen involvement

Could someone from the LRP committee give us some info about your timetable? Do you have a deadline for presenting something (a plan? a recommendation?) to the Library Board?

Also, is there a way for interested citizens to be kept appraised of your ongoing work – or help in any other way? For example, the NNTTF (Northwest Neighborhood Transportation Task Force) asked NCO to set up an announcement-only email list to keep folks updated on their work. See http://www.northfield.org/mailman/listinfo/nnttf

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Peter Hamlin – 11:32am Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#55 of 63)

Nature & Environment Host

Just thought I’d post my top priorities for the library:

Downtown location: I think it’s important that Northfield maintain its downtown-centered character. I know this is not the way many towns go, but that’s one of the defining features of Northfield, people like it, and we should fight to keep it.

Beautiful building: the library building is a jewel. Whatever we do, we shouldn’t settle for anything that is less beautiful than the current building and its wonderful addition.

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Griff Wigley – 03:15pm Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#56 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

What to add, what to cut?

Thanks, Peter. I agree, the current building is a jewel.

I’ve neglected to invite comment on two areas that pertain to long-range planning:

Are there services the library should offer and currently doesn’t?

And, related to that question, are there library services currently offered that should be considered for elimination?

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Griff Wigley – 03:26pm Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#57 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

My two cents

Are there services the library should offer and currently doesn’t?

1. Hundreds of libraries around the world now include weblogs on their web sites: http://www.libdex.com/weblogs.html Northfield should consider this.

2. I see Hennepin County Library offers online book discussion groups via email lists. This would be a great addition here.

3. I’d like to see the library adopt the program where all the citizens from an entire city read the same book over the course of a month or two. I think the city of Chicago just read “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

4. Of course, the library needs an in-house coffee shop!

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Peter Hamlin – 07:50pm Apr 3, 2002 CDT (#58 of 63)

Nature & Environment Host

About services to the Hispanic community: I wonder if there are opportunities to get Hispanic people and primarily English-speaking residents together more. Could there be bilingual poetry readings? Children’s readings in both languages?

There could be opportunities to get us all together, rather than just serving us separately. I’m a big fan of Julia Alvarez, who has written some very cool bilingual poetry that makes sense if you don’t speak very much Spanish. Maybe there are other things like that that could provide a catalyst for some fun bilingual get-togethers?

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Griff Wigley – 05:22am Apr 4, 2002 CDT (#59 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

I’ve created a straw poll on library expansion. It’s a new topic in this folder at:

Griff Wigley “Straw Poll – Library expansion” 4/4/02 5:19am

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Lynne – 08:09pm Apr 4, 2002 CDT (#60 of 63)

Lynne Young, Library Director, forum panelist

Hi, this is Lynne again, responding to some of the questions posted.

Expansion $$: The 1985 addition was paid for with a general obligation bond (1.3 million) that will be paid off in 2004. We are planning ahead, hoping that “reupping” that bond will be easier for us taxpayers than taking on a whole new bond. This, of course, would have to be approved by the council and then brought to a vote. A combination of public and private money is certainly a possibility. As some of you remember, too, we received a significant gift last year. Right now, that gift is growing interest; in addition we have some other gift funds. They would be a good start toward an addition. We know, too, the Friends of the Library will help with fundraising.

The legislature is currently looking at bonding bills. Included in the Senate’s version is money for the “Mighty Books” program, a grant program for building library buildings (up to $250,000 each, I think). THrough special individual bills the state has recently helped to build libraries in Grand Rapids and some other Minnesota cities. This legislation is an attempt to make state funding available to communities throughout the state. This, of course, may not pass the legislature. Write to the conference committee members!

The Long-range Planning Committee’s timetable is to present a draft plan to the Library Board at the May meeting. We’ll continue to work on this throughout the summer with the goal of presenting the final plan to the Council in the fall. We hope to make some preliminary recommendations regarding the building site at that time, but all formal building plans and funding proposals are further down the road.

Lynne

I think the idea of having an announcement-only e-mail list with NCO would be good. What do the rest of you LRP members think?

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Griff Wigley – 06:26am Apr 6, 2002 CDT (#61 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Thanks for answering all those questions, Lynne.

Time to close!

I’d like to thanks all the panelists for their participation.

We’ve had 173 people reading along, and I’ve gotten email feedback expressing appreciation for the quality of the discussion here.

I’ll keep this topic open for any last minute wrap-up posts – from panelists or audience members – till Monday.

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Lois Stratmoen – 10:53am Apr 8, 2002 CDT (#62 of 63)

A very thoughtful discussion. Thanks.

I am a newly appointed member of the Northfield Library Board and have found this online discussion a fascintaing way to get people involved in providing, expanding on, and evaluating ideas concerning the needs and future plans for our Library.

I am ‘emotionally attached’ to our current beautiful building and it’s central location so have been particularly interested in the ideas about different use of the space on our current site.

I’m sorry to hear about the miunderstandings in communications with our neighboring property owners and hope we can work toward future plans that will be agreeable to all parties involved.

Thanks, NCO, for providing an excellent channel for discussion and to all who took the time and effort to share their ideas. Northfield is a great community in which to live and is a wonderful place to be able to work with others to make it even better.

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Griff Wigley – 09:31pm Apr 9, 2002 CDT (#63 of 63)

Web Cafe Community manager, forum moderator

Hi Lois, thanks for those remarks. I’m glad you found the forum to be helpful.

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