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Wednesday
Sep012010

Minneapolis Central Library Tour

It's amazing how many places there are to tour around here! Last night we took the 6:30pm public tour of the Minneapolis Central Library

David Jones provided us with over an hour of interesting facts, figures, features and history of this beautiful facility.

The incredible Children's area offers 40 world languages. According to David, 80% of Minneapolis kids have a library card.

The Central Library's Grand Opening was in May, 2006.  At the time it was built, the library was 30% more energy efficient than what was required by code. One reason is the green roof.  It features 7 inches of soil and 50 varieties of ground cover.  Whatever rain water the roof doesn't absorb is routed to a conduit underground - so no run off.  Another benefit is the rooftop temperature stays moderate on hot days, both extending the life of the roof and saving on cooling costs. 

The building has two sides - the public area and storage/operations - separated by the library commons.  Each floor on the public side features a fireplace and special artwork.  The above picture of  violin artwork is from the 3rd floor, which houses music, art, drama, literature and over 1,000 periodicals.  

Only two items from Minneapolis' original 1889 library were included in the new Central Library. First, the statue of Minerva, the Goddess of Wisdom. Second, an ornate doorway (above), which currently serves as the entrance to the Special Collections room on the 4th floor.

I have to confess this was my first time visiting the Central Library. Even so, without all the background and interesting facts David provided, I wouldn't have the same appreciation had I just dropped in. Here are a few fun facts:  

360,000 square feet above ground

250 underground parking stalls

The staff answers 900,000 inquiries per year

There are over 7,000 cookbooks on the 2nd floor

2.5 million pieces of material are housed at the Central Library

40% of the material that goes out is Fiction, and half of that is in electronic format

There is an Adaptive Technology area for people with special needs

Take the tour!

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