Help decide Walker Library’s future this week

Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman wants ideas for the future of the Walker Library.

The underground Hennepin Avenue library opened in 1981 and has long been plagued by structural problems. When the library was still under Minneapolis’ authority, there were plans to build a mixed-use building on the site or to move the existing library to a different address, but both were scrapped.

Now the county is planning to replace the building, and Dorfman wants community input on what the new library should contain. For example, should it have more reading areas? More computers?

Two community meetings will be held in the coming days. The first is scheduled for 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, the second for 6:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday. Both will be at the library, 2880 Hennepin Ave.

The county board already has approved spending $12 million specifically on the replacement project. A new building would be more cost-effective than making ongoing repairs, according to a news release.

“After all the discussion about a library and a new Walker Library, I think people will be relieved that we actually have money on the table,” Dorfman said. “We’re not going to mess around. We’re going to give them a library.”