Meeting on library merger will be held Nov. 7


Residents can weigh in on the proposed merger of the Minneapolis and Hennepin County Public Library systems during a public hearing that will be held Nov. 7.

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Doty Board Room at Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall. The Minneapolis Public Library and the Minneapolis City Council are jointly holding the meeting.

The legislation enabling the merger that the Minnesota Legislature passed this spring requires each public body to hold a public hearing prior to agreeing to the consolidation. The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners, the Minneapolis City Council and the Minneapolis Public Library Board must approve the merger. If approved, the merger can happen as early as Jan. 1 and no later than Dec. 31, 2008.

In addition to the joint meeting, the Minneapolis Public Library Board offers time during each of its meetings for the public to ask questions about the proposed consolidation. The Library Board meets Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at Central Library and Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at Hosmer Library, 347 E. 36th St.

If plans for the merger of the Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library systems move forward, three Minneapolis libraries that were closed last year will be opened again. Roosevelt, Southeast and Webber Park libraries were closed as the library system faced bleak financial projections. If the consolidation proceeds, all three libraries are scheduled to reopen Jan. 2.

A consolidated system would include 15 Minneapolis libraries and 26 suburban libraries offering more than 5 million books, CDs and DVDs and nearly 1,600 public computers.