Walker Library reopens April 26

Renovation features lots of daylight, reading corners and an iPad dispenser.

Credit: Hennepin County Library image

A very different Walker Library opens April 26 at Hennepin & Lagoon. The stacks are no longer underground, the “L-I-B-R-A-R-Y” letters are relocated to the driveway, and the Dunwoody entry gates are restored and hanging in the lobby as artwork.

“We had a need for a building with a civic presence,” said Lois Lenroot-Ernt, capital projects manager. She said that despite the iconic library letters, many people didn’t know Uptown had a library. In addition, the structure was leaky, in part because it was underground and in part because of the weight of the parking garage overhead.

The renovated library features the city’s first iPad dispenser. Patrons can check out one of 12 iPads for use within the library.

“We can never have enough computers,” Lenroot-Ernt said.

The children’s area has a light table and a station for imaginary play, where kids can pretend to drive a bus or shop a farmers market.

Lenroot-Ernt also highlighted a reading loft for older children and comfy reading areas for adults, such as the corner of Hennepin & Lagoon.

“You can sit right on the corner and watch the world go by while reading,” she said.

A 24-space underground parking garage is open during library hours.

Construction began in 2012. Lenroot-Ernt said crews reused as much of the building as they could, including some of the foundation’s concrete footings.

“People are excited about it,” she said. “Staff are excited about getting started and working with the community again.”