Saint Paul Public Library announces design directions for Hamline Midway, Hayden Heights, and Riverview libraries

The Saint Paul Public Library (SPPL) today announced the design direction for three Saint Paul library transformation projects at Hamline Midway, Hayden Heights, and Riverview libraries. Design directions were informed by extensive community engagement through a series of virtual and in-person open houses, pop-up events, listening sessions, and surveys as well as technical guidance from the project team on construction and cost feasibility. SPPL will continue to work with community members to refine building plans to meet the needs of the community. To view a summary and the full pre-design report, click here

  • Hamline Midway Library: SPPL will build a new library that maximizes accessibility, environmental sustainability, and safety through design. The new library will integrate architectural features that preserve history into a new structure that also reflects the cultures of today’s community. 
  • Hayden Heights Library: SPPL will renovate the library to create a resource-rich hub and community gathering space that better reflects the Greater East Side community. 
  • Riverview Library: SPPL will renovate and build an addition to the Humboldt Avenue side of Riverview Library that maximizes accessibility for all community members and represents the cultures and history of the West Side community. The current front stairway will be transformed into a reading garden.

“Public libraries are a global symbol of free access to information,” said Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. “These bold designs advance our commitment to offer a first class, 21st Century library for every family in every part of our city.”

In 2019, SPPL rewrote its mission, vision, values and goals through community input. One of the key goals resulting from this process was to invest in spaces that are safe, inviting, affirming and comfortable for people of all cultures, abilities and communities. Community input also helped develop the Facilities Direction, a document that presents a vision and recommendations for investments in library facilities, including the Hamline MidwayHayden Heights, and Riverview libraries. This year, more than 1,000 community members have provided input to inform these design direction decisions. Now that design directions have been established, the engagement and design process will continue throughout the summer as plans for each library are refined to meet the needs of their community. Final designs for each library will be delivered by the project team this fall. 

“We seek to transform these three libraries to become resource-rich, sustainable community spaces that all people can use with dignity and ease,” said Catherine Penkert, SPPL director. “Investment in libraries is an investment in people and communities, and we are grateful to the many community members who gave input into these design directions.” 

SPPL will be hosting virtual office hours for each library that community members can attend to ask questions and get more information on how the design direction decisions were made. Residents are welcome to drop in at any time.  

  • June 1, 4-5 p.m.: Hayden Heights office hours
  • June 2, 4-5 p.m.: Hamline Midway office hours 
  • June 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m.: Riverview office hours

As the design process continues, residents will be able to provide ideas and feedback on the look and feel both inside and outside the libraries based on the chosen design direction. From local artist-led Creative Encounters to community meetings and surveys, there will be several opportunities for people to engage and share their voice. A second survey for community members to complete as well as an artist-led Creative Encounter in each library where community members can contribute to a library dream board will launch on June 11.

“As we move forward to the next phase of design, we invite all residents to continue co-creating their libraries with us,” said Penkert. 

Learn more about upcoming engagement and the Transforming Libraries initiative at