It'll look and operate a whole lot differently in the coming future. That's the message that Duluth City leaders had about the downtown public library at a public event on February 22.

During the presentation, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson shared the city's intentions to turn the library into a Regional Community Service Center. The announcement came with news about a partnership the city is entering into with the Duluth Library Foundation.

So what exactly is a Regional Community Service Center? In many ways, it's an expansion of the sort of services that the library has already been providing the community. While libraries continue to offer the sort of services you would normally think of (i.e. offering books, CD's, and resource materials available for check out), modern usage of the library has grown to include a lot of other uses.

Duluth Public Library - Downtown Superior Street Branch in Duluth, MN
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

During the announcement, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson shared the ways that the library has evolved, and how the plans for converting it to a Regional Community Service Center would help. Larson explained:

"We have this amazing opportunity to convert the downtown library space into one that services the Duluth community in a meaningful and holistic way. Co-location of the Workforce Center into the Library would hub critical community services into the space our community is already so comfortable in, removing barriers for folks who use these services and inviting ta more active and engaged environment for the Downtown Library. It's incredible to have the support of the Library Foundation and to strengthen the City's partnership with them in this way."

At the same time - and for cooperatively similar purposes - the Duluth Library Foundation expressed their excitement for the plans. Erin Kreeger, Executive Director of the Duluth Public Library Foundation shared:

"The Library Foundation  is excited to partner with the city on a robust community engagement process that will inform the pre-design of a new downtown facility. As champions of the library working to increase its capacity to serve the region, we see this as a critical investment in supporting library innovation and the evolving needs and interests of the community. We’re invested in seeing this project to fruition, creating a welcoming space for education, enrichment, and economic opportunities for all people."

The next step for the project proposal is full review of the resolutions by the Duluth City Council and a vote to approve.  No timeline has been given for completion of the multi-purpose center.

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