A new chapter is in the works for the Northfield Public Library with a $3 million renovation project expected to begin soon.

When the library reopens in 2016, visitors will enter through a new two-story, glass-enclosed commons. Inside, there will be expanded space for the children's collection.

Plans also call for expanding and upgrading the first-floor meeting room, creating larger staff work areas and making safety and accessibility improvements to bring the building, constructed in 1910 and expanded in 1984, up to modern building codes.

The contract calls for substantial completion by the end of January.

More than $1.4 million for the project is coming from a private campaign led by the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library and the city library board, library director Teresa Jensen said.

"It seemed like a real long shot to be able to raise more than $1 million in a short amount of time and yet it's happened, which says to me how much the public wanted this project to move forward," Jensen said.

The city, which initially committed $1 million, will end up putting in more than $1.6 million after agreeing to pay for safety and accessibility improvements. The city and the fundraising campaign each will contribute close to $71,000 to cover a shortfall.

The proceeds from an auction of furnishings will add to the efforts, Jensen said.

An old oak circulation desk went to a local restaurant that is using it as a reception desk. A local bookstore owner bought some shelves.

"It's a beautiful investment in the community," Council Member Jessica Peterson White said. "It's worth every penny."

Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Woodbury. His e-mail is todd_nelson@mac.com.