Minneapolis Public Library gets facelift

… and the ‘w3rdn3rd’ is disappointed by society in general


I must have been born in the wrong era… Although I only recently moved to Minnesota, I can’t help but feel connected to the old style of architecture that this state exhibits in its most urban areas, and it’s a little disheartening to learn that one of the buildings erected before the turn of the century may be getting a facelift within the year. As an added bonus, one particular monument to Minneapolis, the old Walker Library, was seen undergoing renovations as early as last Friday, Jan. 23.

Ned Adbul, president of Swervo Development Corporation, plans to install a restaurant or offices in place of the old library, according to Mark Reilly of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Most recently, the space has been used as a Life Time Fitness facility and LifePower yoga gym–both of which have long since moved from this location.

The truth is, this building hasn’t been connected to any public services for quite some time. During the summer of last year, a new Walker Library was built on the west side of Hennepin Avenue as part of a relocation project in progress since 1981, and it is a marvel to see people walking in and out of its doors almost constantly. On the one hand, people are still reading, so there is still hope for my antiquated addiction towards the written word, but is there a way to weight the amount of library visitors who read against those who access the internet?

I’ve visited three different libraries in Minnesota since July (excluding the aforementioned fourth, which is closed) and a handful of bookstores that appealed to me more. Two out of three of the libraries located in St. Paul were glorified computer labs with a few shelves stuffed into the corners. Granted, these are supplemental sections of “community centers” that give kids a place to go after school, but I imagined if a building had the word “Library” in big, bold letters on the outside as well as in, I could expect to find paradise inside–not a bank of glowing monitors, five rows and three columns deep…

Returning to the topic of renovations, this brings us to an an even more somber note. According to the staff at the new library, the old halls of the run-down library across the street haven’t heard the whispers of small children or the crack and whine of a turning  page for over 50 years. I just want to express how much I wish someone would polish the decaying wood and dust off the leather couches from the old Walker Library in Minneapolis and excavate those little gold lamps with the green shades.







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