Library openings and re-openings have a way of getting a community’s juices flowing. Thus was the case with the Friends of Northeast Library, a fledgling but energetic group that gathered last week to plan how best to celebrate and capitalize on the re-opening of the Northeast Library which has been closed for renovation for many months. On one of autumn’s last perfect evenings a dozen enthusiasts and bibliophiles gathered to anticipate and plan for the re-opening, set for yet-to-be-determined date in Spring 2011.
Topics on the agenda included the establishment of an endowment, coupled with much discussion about the intent and disposition of that endowment. Attendees focused on the way in which “their” library will link with and build on a strong community with ethnic roots and a thriving arts environment. A short-range plan calls for a fundraising book sale set for Friday and Saturday, December 10-11, 2010 at the East Side Coop.
The energy was palpable and the hopes high as attendees looked to the future, including the legacy that an endowment might leave to the community, the ways in which area residents tap a mix of public libraries, especially Bottineau and St. Anthony Village, and the role of a Friends group.
The nascent Friends group is assisted by the Hennepin County Library Foundation which is working with local groups to create and support Friends organizations throughout the Hennepin County Library system. The challenge facing the Foundation is to incorporate and envision a mix of library Friends groups in an environment profoundly transformed by the merger of the Hennepin County and Minneapolis Public Library systems, each of which had a unique profile of Friends organizations.
Fortunately, organizational heritage was not the primary concern nor the determinant of those gathered to explore the future of Friends of Northeast. This new group has ideas, energy and commitment to take on the challenge of the new Northeast Library soon to grace and inform the Northeast community.