East Lake Library construction on schedule; residents raise money to enhance collection

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Construction of the East Lake Library, with its “walls of glass,” continues apace, with the opening still scheduled for early 2007. Road construction continues in front of the library: the north side of Lake Street is currently closed, with two-way traffic rerouted in front of the library, and in August, road construction will begin on the library side of Lake Street. By October, the Hennepin County streetscape project is expected to be done.

According to the latest construction update, 85 percent of the library’s exterior is completed, and work on the interior is proceeding on schedule, with workers installing the ceiling, flooring, and lighting. In the fall, installation will begin on glass art panels depicting quotes from books in the library’s collection. The panels are being created by Janet Lofquist, a City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places artist. An artist is also being selected to create a piece to be placed in the library’s rain garden. A panel made up of community members, Library Board trustees, project architects, and an art curator will decide on the artist; the panel is expected to see the final presentations on July 10.

The rain garden is currently being planted, made up of native plants, grasses, and shrubs. Furniture, shelving, and signage have been ordered and are expected to arrive in October and November.

So with the roads, the building, the art, the gardens, and furniture, shelves, and signs, there’s just one more (inanimate) item needed to make the library complete: books! To make sure the library’s collection is as dynamic as its facilities, there’s a campaign to raise money to purchase books for the collection. According to Joan Vanhala of the Seward Neighborhood Group, the Seward neighborhood has a goal to raise $15,000 so that they can receive a matching grant of $85,000 from the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library.

She says there are several ways that people can help to reach that $15,000 goal:

1. Donate what you can: all donations help, whether large or small.
2. Shop at your local businesses. During the month of July, Birchwood Café will donate a dollar for every burger purchased, and Welna Hardware will donate a dollar for every pair of reading glasses or sunglasses purchased.
3. Contribute $25 and get a nameplate placed in a book with your name in it. You can specify what type of book you’d like to add, such as children or teen, adult fiction or nonfiction, world languages, or whatever is most needed.

For more information, or to make a contribution, contact “Joan Vanhala at the Seward Neighborhood Group”:mailto:joan@sng.org or send a check to the Friends of the Minneapolis Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN, 55401. For more information on the construction of the East Lake library, “click here”:http://www.mpls.lib.mn.us/el_update062006.asp.

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