Twin Cities Agenda: Reading between the lines: The 2018 St. Paul Library Budget Proposal

By: Jeremy Laue, Twin Cities Agenda

I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember going to the library in my hometown to get a book on Computer hacking. As I brought my book up to the counter, I was greeted by a smiling face and the sour information that I had late fees in the total of $85 – a fortune for a kid.

Apparently, I had checked out a couple books on raccoons a few years earlier and never returned them. Thinking fast, I struck a deal with the librarian. She took mercy on me, and I spent three weeks shelving books and picking dandelions out of the grass around the building to clear my debt – and get back to reading.

This is a unique experience, however, and one that may never happen again – at least not in St. Paul: On August 29th, during the 2019 Library Budget Address, Mayor Melvin Carter proposed an investment of $215,000 to eliminate the library’s reliance on daily late fines.

He also announced the forthcoming expansion of “Read Brave Saint Paul” program, featuring books centered on housing challenges.

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