Minneapolis library begins move

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The city's main downtown library started the long journey to a new building this week.

Workers began sorting 2.3 million books and materials to be moved out while construction proceeds during the next four years. Some will be sent to a temporary library in an office building across the street and some to warehouses.

Librarians also stopped checking out older books and documents and started taking down shelves for use in the temporary space.

They're the first steps in a complicated process to keep as much of the library's collection as possible available to its own visitors, the 14 branch libraries it serves and hundreds of others it helps around the state.


Susan Tertell, director of the central library, said workers will pack and move materials in July with a target of emptying the existing building on Oct. 1, a month sooner than previously announced.

"We're hoping to add underground parking in the new library," she said. "In order to accommodate a schedule for excavation, we're doing our best to get out a month earlier than we planned."

The former Federal Reserve bank building, now called Marquette Plaza, across the street from the existing library will serve as a temporary library during construction.

The existing library, which opened in 1961, will be replaced by a larger one designed by architect Cesar Pelli, who also designed the nearby Wells Fargo skyscraper.

In the meantime, some materials will be difficult to access.

When the new library building is done in 2006, about 50 percent of the collection will be easily accessible to patrons, compared to 15 percent today.

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