The wait is over for supporters of the shuttered Southeast Library, 1222 SE Fourth St. The Southeast Library will reopen after the recent approval of the merger of the Minneapolis and Hennepin County library system.
Hennepin County Commissioners voted on Dec. 18 to approve the merger. The Minneapolis City Council took a similar vote Dec. 21, with 12 council members voting in favor of the merger, and one, Ward 2 Council Member Cam Gordon, opposed. The Minneapolis Public Library (MPL) is now poised to open the doors at the Southeast, Webber Park and Roosevelt libraries, closed since last December.
Southeast will reopen on Thursday, Jan. 3, with an official celebration Saturday, Jan. 12, starting at 10 a.m. At Southeast, staff has been hired — former Southeast librarian Eric Heideman, with library aides Jim Ruiz and Rebecca Thayer — and the facility has 10 public computers, new materials, and easier access to library items, according to an MPL release.
Southeast will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon–8 p.m., and Saturdays, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Kathleen Reilly, who has spearheaded the “Save the Southeast Library” effort, said the reopening would be cause for celebration. “We really thought it was a coup to be shuttered, that we made enough noise,” she said. Reilly said another celebration would be held later in the month for returning U of M students.
Reilly said she would like to see Southeast open for more hours, as well as other Minneapolis libraries, all of which are currently closed on Mondays. Although thankful for the reopened Southeast, Reilly was cautious about what the merger would mean for the city’s libraries. “I hope we haven’t given away the farm,” she said.