The Nobles County Library was scheduled to be back on the agenda of the Nobles County Board of Commissioners during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday morning. The future of the library – more specifically, whether to build a new facility or not – has been an off-and-on topic for the Nobles County board for several years.
Since early this year, the library has been working with Library Strategies, a consulting group from the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, in undergoing a community assessment and creation of a strategic plan. The plan was presented at board work session on Aug. 31.
While it’s noted in the packet for Tuesday’s county board meeting that carrying out much of the plan can be led and implemented by library staff, the improvement of current facilities and expanding access for all will involve capital expenditures. Library Director David Bradford was scheduled to appear Tuesday before the county board with the hope of obtaining direction on what avenues to pursue.
Much of the library’s plans for carrying out most elements of the strategic plan will depend upon the library’s current and future physical layout and available space, the information in the packet notes. It adds that community surveys and interviews have shown a strong preference for remaining at the current library location.
Space needs studies have been done in 2015 and 2020 as part of exploring library options. Additionally, the Nobles County Historical Society is supposed to be moving out of the library building in the near future to make its home in the former Armory building on Ninth Street.
The library building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017. Options presently being considered for the facility include use of the Historical Society’s former space, exploring remodeling of the building and explore remodeling with a library expansion. Bradford intends to recommend the exploration of all options to the county board.