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Crookston Public Library turns the page on decor

CROOKSTON — The Crookston Public Library could have some new looks to go along with its books as soon as late spring.

The library recently received a $125,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust, and the gift could grow by another $25,000 if the community can raise all of the dollar-for-dollar match.

"We are thrilled. We could not be more thrilled and more grateful for the opportunity to be able to provide these updates to our library," library director Christine Boike said Thursday. "There haven't been any decor changes in 25 years other than paint a year and a half ago. So this is much needed."

The library is one of 13 libraries in the consolidated Lake Agassiz Regional Library system. It also is one of three hubs in the system that covers seven counties in northwest Minnesota.

Boike says 72,713 visitors have used the library so far this year. People in surrounding rural communities also take part in the LINK program. LINK allows people to request materials to be delivered to smaller pickup sites.

"We have a lot of people using this building, and not just in Crookston, but in Polk County and the surrounding area, too" Boike said. "People are constantly coming through here from other parts of the country. They study here and do research here, and they always comment on it. Or they just have roots here, and they like it here."

Boike said one of the first priorities for the grant money will be an update for the library's original 1984 restrooms. Other areas on the list are the popular sunroom, teen area and meeting room.

"We have a lot of different groups and organizations that use these facilities on a daily basis," she said. "But with the changing needs of the library patrons, we need to keep up so we can be as functional as possible. We're really a connector of people and resources."

The grant money is earmarked for the library's facility, furniture and equipment, but Boike said the library separately plans to discuss with the city upgrades such as new carpeting and lighting. The city owns the library building.

"We feel we're the closest thing we have to a community center in Crookston, so this is a vital, vibrant part of our community," Boike said. "Everybody loves their library, and they should. It's a great place to be and a great place to learn. And we offer as many enrichment and educational opportunities as we can. We want as many people as is possible to enjoy them."

How to help

Boike said people who want to donate toward the $25,000 match, can go to www.larl.org/donate or stop by the library for a donation envelope. They also may call the library at (218) 281-4522.

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