Library renovation long overdue

On November 8, Moorhead residents will have an important decision to make. This election day there will be a vote on a 0.5 cent local option sales tax used to fund a new Community Center/Regional Library in downtown Moorhead.  

The current Moorhead public library is not meeting the needs of Moorhead residents and the community at large. In 2021 there was a needs assessment conducted with the help of the Library Strategies Consulting Group for the current Moorhead public library. The results of this survey, which included participation and feedback, revealed that the current space was not built for today’s library users.  

The 2021 Community Needs Assessment found the following issues with the current library: the space is inadequate for hosting the desired gatherings, inadequate HVAC, plumbing, and lighting and the current building is not up to accessibility standards of the 21st century for a library. The assessment concluded that the only way to fix these outstanding issues would be to completely renovate the building, essentially starting from scratch.  

Greta Almlie is the 2022-23 Lead Commissioner of the Campus Events Commission (CEC) and also holds a spot on the Library Task Force Team, giving the college students perspective to the project. 

“The current library is old and needs renovation. The structure is literally collapsing, renovations are much needed. It is also in a sketchy location,” said Almlie.  

The team is comprised of 11 Moorhead residents including, Nick Woodard, Lisa Borgen, Shane Kvalevog, James Hand, Doug Greenley, Karla Solum, Sajid Ghaurl, Cani Aden, Danielle Wright, Oliver Judd and Greta Almie.   

Almlie said that the team meets monthly to go over goals and ways to achieve the improvements that the library is in need of. She also mentioned that there is a high school student on the team to give the younger student perspective.  

Megan Krueger is the library director of the Moorhead Public Library. She believes and updated space is something that will be really valuable to the community. 

“We know that community members would like to see improved meeting room space, additional small group study space, an improved children’s area and a space to hold events. We attract 200-300 people to some of our events, but currently have no space to host a group that large. A new library and community center building will provide all of this and more,” said Krueger. 

The library has been serving the Moorhead community since 1962. | Paige Naughton

The library has been serving the communities needs since 1962, acting not only as a building full of books but as a community gathering space. The last expansion/renovation project was 34 years ago in 1988. The building is facing structural problems and is not meeting the community’s needs anymore, according to the leadership task force team. 

 Kruger spends a good deal of time in the library itself, but she also spends time in the community, “Attending meetings or presenting to community groups to ensure everyone knows about all the amazing resources available to them through the library,” said Krueger.  

According to Almlie, the sales tax would have the greatest impact on small businesses. Their taxes would have the greatest increase but also the biggest effect in raising the funds for the new space. In turn, this could raise prices at small businesses in the community. All this being said,  
Almlie is confident that the sales tax will pass.  

Krueger said that she appreciates that this is a decision that will be made by the community at large. She encourages anyone who is curious about the library to stop by, “You may be surprised by what you discover!” 

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