Our Hamline Midway Branch Library needs your participation


Twelve years ago, amidst a budget crisis in St. Paul, the Hamline Midway Library Association (HMLA) formed to advocate for our library. Year after year, we’ve pushed officials to invest in our branch. This year, the SPPL has committed to making significant investment in improving our branch. After decades of waiting, it’s our library’s turn for improvements! We think that fact is worth celebrating!!
In March, SPPL presented two options to our community before they made their submission for Capital Improvement Budget (CIB) funding: a renovation, costing an estimated $3.6 million, or a new building on the same site, costing roughly $8.1 million. Looking at those specific proposals, HMLA was concerned that a renovation would not address the wide-ranging needs and wishes that we heard our neighbors expressing for our library. So we crafted a community letter supporting the new building option. In that letter, we advocated two positions back to SPPL: neither option offered a building large enough to meet the community’s needs, and broader community input, specifically from the underserved and under-25 year old populations, was imperative.
SPPL administrators have since applied for $8.1 million in CIB funds for the Hamline Midway Library, to be applied either toward a renovation and substantial expansion of the current building OR a new building at the same location; which option SPPL will pursue will depends on a community engagement process still to come later this year.
This process has been filled with many bumps along the way, but one thing HMLA is grateful for is that our neighborhood is having serious conversations about our library’s future because SPPL plans to invest in our branch. And, both CIB options now imagine a larger library, which means SPPL recognizes that the footprint of the current building does not meet the needs for library services in our neighborhood!
Receiving CIB funding this year would be a key step toward gaining the upgrades our neighborhood needs, whether those upgrades come in a renovated building or a new one. Moving forward, there are places for you to be involved, and HMLA wholly encourages all people to participate. The CIB committee is considering proposals totalling $56 million, while having only $11-$12 million to allocate. We are asking our neighbors, friends, and anyone who loves our city’s libraries to please contact the CIB committee before the end of May, in support of investing in the SPPL branches. You can send messages of support for the SPPL’s request for CIB funding to Madeline Mitchell at madeline.mitchell@ci.stpaul.mn.us. Contacting the mayor and city councilmembers in support of the SPPL receiving CIB funding is helpful, as well.
Another way to support library improvements is to attend the CIB committee’s online public hearing on June 14th. Please check the city’s Capital Improvement Budget Process website for updates on how to attend.
We also urge your participation in public outreach and engagement by SPPL planned for later in the year. We look forward to opportunities to listen, learn from one another, and dream together about how to create the most vibrant library possible. No proposal will ever make everyone happy; HMLA’s hope is that as a neighborhood, we can center making the best use of our tax dollars to provide the best possible library services for our community, now and for future generations.
The last piece of celebration is that the Hamline Midway Library branch will be opening up in June as a location with in-person Library Express services. We know that during this pandemic time, it’s been hard on the neighborhood to have our library reduced to such bare-bones services. Please watch SPPL’s website for the re-opening date, and join with us in gratitude for the opportunity to engage in our beloved HM branch library once again!


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  • DaniNicholson

    A quick update on how to participate (information gathered from https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office/committees-boards-and-commissions/capital-improvement-budget-cib).

    There will be a public hearing on preliminary 2022-2023 CIB and CDBG recommendations during the regular scheduled monthly CIB meeting on June 14. The meeting begins at 3:30 and the public hearing portion will begin at 4:00pm. If you would like to testify at this meeting, please email CIB-Proposals@ci.stpaul.mn.us by June 11 to sign up. If you would like to provide written testimony, please email CIB-Proposals@ci.stpaul.mn.us by June 13.

    To access the meeting and public hearing, please visit https://www.stpaul.gov/departments/mayors-office/committees-boards-and-commissions/capital-improvement-budget-cib for link to online meeting. If you would like to access the audio only you may call in: 612-315-7905, 467416540#

    Friday, June 4, 2021 Report this