Arlington Hills Library’s classic building to be emptied

The classic Arlington Hills Library building at the corner of Greenbrier Street and Jessamine Avenue will no longer be open as a library as of Friday, March 14. Built in 1916, it is one of three Carnegie libraries in St. Paul. (submitted photo)

New library will open May 22

Well, neighbors knew it was coming, but now there’s a hard date -- the Carnegie building that holds the Arlington Hills Library will no longer be open as a public library after Friday, March 14.

The closure comes as the new Arlington Hills Community Center construction wraps up. Staff will transport library materials into the new building, which is projected to be open to the public in late May.

A grand opening for the new library is scheduled for Thursday, May 22.

Katrina Hartz Taylor, manager of Arlington Hills Library said the move was an exciting step for the library.

“We will have the same space for books, but a lot more space for people,” she said.

In the current facility, “it gets kind of cramped,” she said. “Sometimes there’s no place for people to sit.”

The new building will have meeting rooms, a kids section, a homework center, and a community learning lab which should allow for more spaces for people to participate in library activities, she said.

The library was originally scheduled to close on Feb. 28, but that date got pushed back due to construction delays at the new facility.

Brian Tourtelotte, project manager for the new building, said the library’s transition into the new building was slowed due to accounting delays. The city had transferred to a new accounting system, and buying furniture for the library was set back as a result, he said.

As for the fate of the historic Carnegie library building at the corner of Greenbrier Street and Jessamine Avenue, that’s still up in the air.

The city is in negotiations with a prospective buyer, according to Alex Dumke, who works in the city’s contracts department.

Hartz Taylor said the fate of the library building was something residents have been wondering about.

“People feel a sense of ownership for it.”

The city put out a request for proposals to find a buyer for the building in July 2013, and received two completed pitches.

The Beaux Arts style library was built in 1916 and is one of three Carnegie libraries in St. Paul. It’s thought to be one of the oldest public buildings in the city.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.

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