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Dougherty said that a 1999 city report recommended that Columbia Heights build a new 20,000-square-foot library in place of the existing 13,000-square-foot concrete building.
With heavy usage, Vesley and Dougherty both cited infrastructure and space problems as major concerns.
Vesley said moisture problems, issues with flooding and a small basement space for the children’s section are all related to the available space.
“The space limitations are really profound in that building,” Vesley said.
Dougherty agreed and said teenagers in the community really enjoy the library but are hindered by a lack of space and material for them.
“Right now, our young adult section is a hallway,” she said.
The task force also recommended increased resources for young adults, as well as more digital resources, such as WiFi Internet and more computers.
The city and its community are heavily invested in the library, Dougherty said, because it is one of the few city-owned libraries in the metro area and has been in Columbia Heights since its inception in 1928.
“There’s a real history of community support for the library,” she said.
The library is independent of the Anoka County Library system but shares some resources.
Dougherty said that she didn’t have specific desires for the library’s new location. She does have one goal: “I would like to see a new library happen in Columbia Heights.”
Kevin Burbach is a University of Minnesota journalism student on assignment for the Star Tribune.