Facilities Direction

Co-creating a community-centered vision to transform Saint Paul Public Library’s facilities.

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One Step Closer!

Mayor Carter has proposed funding for transformation of Hamline Midway Library.

Your Library, Your Voice

Imagine free gathering spaces for neighborhood meetings, for job seekers to access Wi-Fi and resume help, for children to discover and learn through play, and for community members to work, study, and access services that help them meet their goals. Imagine accessible, inspiring, and comfortable spaces that invite people to come together across similarities and differences to connect and grow. Imagine these scenes in your neighborhood library.

We are co-creating a vision to transform library spaces in Saint Paul to meet the wants and needs of community members now and for the next generation.

Over the past few years, we have heard from many of you. In 2019, we rewrote our Library mission, vision, values, and goals based on community input. Your input shaped our facilities goal: to invest in spaces that are safe, inviting, affirming, and comfortable for people of all cultures, abilities, and communities.

Your input helped develop the our Facilities Direction, which presents a vision and recommendations for investments in library facilities.

And your voice is helping to secure funding for much-needed library transformation projects.

Please continue to co-create with us.

Sign-up for our newsletter, opens a new window to hear about opportunities to engage.

Facilities Direction: Transforming Libraries

Transform three well-loved libraries in Saint Paul that have not been renovated in more than 30 years: Hamline Midway, Hayden Heights, and Riverview

Create technology-rich spaces in all of our libraries.

Design spaces for families to play and learn in all of our libraries.

Take a deeper look.

A Vision Shaped By You

Community members are showing up to shape their libraries. 

3,000 participants in Strategic Direction process

1,680 surveys completed on library facilities wants and needs

110 participants in neighborhood forums

35+ letters and testimonials shared with City leaders

We dream of a library that is reflective of our beautifully diverse communities, a library that says out loud and clear that new and long-time residents, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, youth and members of the disability community are vital contributors to the story of our community. We dream of a library that invites participation of people of varying abilities with dignity, accessibility and ease.

-Hamline Midway Library Association

Key Findings

Libraries in Saint Paul are well loved, well used, and well worn.

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Community members feel pride for their neighborhood library.

The average rating for neighborhood libraries was 7.68 out of 10. The library is a strong connector in Saint Paul neighborhoods and patrons would like the library to play a stronger role.  More than half of the respondents in the survey said,  “I am willing to help make the library better."

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Across demographic and age groups, the library is viewed as a place for exposure to new things and people and as a place to have connections with other people.

The majority of white respondents strongly valued access to diverse resources and the physical space and feel of the library. In comparison, Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) respondents strongly valued their library as a place to spend time with family, exposure to new things and people, and to attend meeting/gatherings.

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Outdated buildings struggle to support high use.

While circulation and visits remain strong, the collection large and diverse, and program attendance increasing, technology is falling behind, surfaces are worn, and the buildings are in serious need of investment. In SPPL’s historic two-level buildings, many spaces are not easily accessible. These buildings have limited access to power/data and many are experiencing water infiltration. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems need significant investment.

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Saint Paul Public Library facilities are falling behind their peers.

Interior spaces are inflexible and are challenged to provide consistent, quality learning and play spaces. Entry areas should be more welcoming. Exterior and interior signage and way-finding need improvement. Sight lines and staff work areas need reconfiguration. Meeting rooms require enhanced flexibility and improved AV technology. Furniture throughout the system needs replacement.



2021 – Next Steps

  • Begin next phase of community engagement to develop community-informed schematic designs for all three priority locations.
  • September/October: Youth engagement process led by Youth Leadership Initiative. Neighborhood engagement process led by Hamline Midway Coalition.
  • November/December: Library-led community engagement and design process focused on Hayden Heights, Riverview, and Hamline Midway.
    Hamline Midway community engagement process invites community to inform direction: new building or renovation plus expansion at current site.
  • Work with The Friends and City of Saint Paul partners on capital fundraising strategy
  • December: Truth in Taxation Public Hearing before Council
  • December: Council adopts 2022 city budget and capital budget

2022 and Beyond

  • Develop construction documents and begin construction of any projects (Hamline Midway, Hayden Heights, and/or Riverview) funded through 2022/23 CIB process or other.
  • Continue to seek public and private funding for the priority projects outlined in the case statement.


Get Inspired

Reimagining the Public Library to Reconnect the Community

Creating a library that is welcoming to all and bridges socioeconomic divides. Presented by Shamichael Hallman at TEDxMemphis.

Breaking the Model: Community Centered Libraries

Breaking the Model: How Community Centered Libraries Celebrate Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity - Library Journal, August 6, 2019

Playbrary: A new vision of the neighborhood library

Play-based learning design has morphed the library from “shhh” to a vibrant interactive family learning center

Libraries as the original coworking spaces

How the possibly most underappreciated coworking space isn’t staying quiet about its role as a free resource for entrepreneurs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Resources and Documents

March 18 CIB Presentation

Library slides are on pages 26-41.

Facilities Direction Report Appendices

Team, data, maps, trends, and meeting minutes.

Facilities Master Plan slide deck

Facilities Master Plan presentation prepared by HGA. Presented March 4, 2020.

Hamline Midway Library Community Discussion slides

PowerPoint presentation from March 9, 2021, community discussion about Hamline Midway Library.
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