New Southdale Library location planned for Southdale Center; community meetings in May/June

Hennepin County staff are recommending to the Board of Commissioners that the new Hennepin County Library – Southdale be constructed at Southdale Center in Edina. Important considerations include fiscal responsibility related to construction and operational costs, access to other services and access to public transportation.

Community conversations were on hold since fall 2018, while county staff determined if the Southdale Center is a viable option for the regional library—which serves residents of Bloomington, Edina, Minneapolis and Richfield.

Upcoming public meetings

Hennepin County will host two open houses in May/June 2019 to share the results of the library programming meetings that occurred in 2018 and present the Southdale Center site renderings. Staff are currently working to set dates, times and locations for these meetings, and will share as soon as they are available.

Construction plans

Building the library at the Southdale Center location allows for almost seamless library services. In contrast, re-building on the existing site would result in the closure of the library for at least 12-18 months. Construction will start in the new building at the Southdale Center in 2020 with potential completion in early 2022.

The current proposal is for Simon Property Group, the mall property owner, to demolish the former Herberger’s building and construct a new building for the library. County staff will collaborate with Simon on the exterior of the building and will facilitate designing the interior spaces.

Other recent investments in the mall will bring live/work space, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and soccer fields to the property. Co-locating with other amenities at Southdale Center will create a more dynamic and convenient experience for patrons, and may attract additional residents, who do not currently use the library. Southdale Center also is accessible by public transit and is a bus route connector in the area.

Community priorities and core services

The library will maintain valued core services, access to physical materials, story times and homework help, all in a secure and welcoming space. It will also offer a new and unique opportunity to deepen community connection and provide innovative and inclusive programs and services.

In 2018, Southdale Library patrons shared feedback about priorities for a new library. These included:

  • Spaces for both focused and collaborative work
  • Technology to bridge the digital divide
  • A variety of seating options with access to power sources
  • Ample library materials
  • Early learning spaces for school readiness.

Patrons also shared how they currently use the library. Checking out materials, picking up holds and using materials in the library all ranked highly, as did attending library programs or using space to study and work.

Other elements that are important to both library staff and patrons will also be reflected in the lease:

  • Access to upper level amenity/green space
  • Bike and pedestrian access to the adjoining community
  • Reserved parking stalls
  • Curbside drop off and book drop
  • Access to the mall interior

Full history and details in the board action request

To receive future updates via email, contact to add your email to the list.

More about this building project