by Dennis Dalman
Sartell residents who are hoping for a branch library in their city might certainly want to attend a meeting at the St. Cloud Library about long-term needs at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 28.
Library advocates in Sartell are urging fellow residents to attend the meeting and to speak up. Public input is important because the Great River Regional Library Board is trying to determine, based on needs assessments, which services it will extend into the years from 2016-2021. That could well include a branch library for Sartell. A Sartell branch library has long been on a “wish list” submitted by Sartell residents to the GRRL Board. Such a library is a top priority for current plans to be included in a Sartell Community Center that will be constructed starting in 2016.
The GRRL, headquartered at the St. Cloud Public Library, provides services at 32 towns throughout central Minnesota.
The July 28 meeting, which will involve a question-answer period, is vital for the board to help determine needs and emphases that it will add to its strategic-planning process.
The GRRL has a library-branch policy of requiring towns to provide the actual building. Most of the rest of the services, including library materials and staff, are then provided by the GRRL.
Sartell residents, via county taxation, have long paid taxes (up to $250,000 a year) to support the GRRL, even though it has not had a branch library for its own residents. The current branch libraries are located in the following cities: Albany, Annandale, Becker, Belgrade, Big Lake, Buffalo, Clearwater, Cokato, Cold Spring, Delano, Eagle Bend, Elk River, Foley, Grey Eagle, Howard Lake, Kimball, Little Falls, Long Prairie, Melrose, Monticello, Paynesville, Pierz, Richmond, Rockford, Royalton, St. Cloud, St. Michael, Sauk Centre, Staples, Swanville, Upsala and Waite Park.