Since taking office, Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R, MN-01) has not yet supported library funding, according to the American Library Association Fund Libraries Campaign. Now he has another opportunity to support a minimum of $10 million for Minnesota libraries from COVID-19 recovery legislation. The Library Stabilization Fund Act (H.R. 7486) would provide $2 billion in emergency critical funding to libraries across the country to meet urgent local needs and preserve crucial library services for everyone, including students, job seekers and small businesses, while retaining their budgets and staff.

Rochester Public Library started curbside pickup in June. Before the pandemic, the library had about 20,000 books a month put on hold. Now that number is closer to 31,000. In addition, staff expanded internet access by appointment by moving a computer lab into the auditorium to allow adequate spacing between patrons. In 2019 the library circulated nearly 2 million items to more than 63,000 patrons. And in 2018 they became only the 4th library in Minnesota to earn the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for institutions that make significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. We are very fortunate to have such an outstanding library here.

Urge Rep. Hagedorn to keep our Rochester Public Library strong by co-sponsoring the Library Stabilization Fund Act (H.R. 7486). Fill out the form at https://cqrcengage.com/ala/app/write-a-letter?7&engagementId=508533, email directly at https://hagedorn.house.gov/contact or call his Rochester office at (507) 323-6090 on Monday , 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. or Friday 9, a.m to 1 p.m.

Deirdre Herman, Rochester

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