George Latimer Central Library



The George Latimer Central Library is the jewel of Rice Park and unquestionably one of Saint Paul’s architectural treasures. Unfortunately, its current entry area is cave-like, inefficient, and unwelcoming. Imagine walking into an inviting, light-filled reception and service area at Central Library, complete with a beautiful new community meeting and programming space. This new, multi-use space will offer great acoustics, up-to-date presentation technology, a catering kitchen, and its own restrooms – all available even when the library is closed.

The second floor Nicholson Commons, with its huge arched windows, opulent hand-painted ceiling, and elegant mezzanine is the George Latimer Central Library’s (and one of Saint Paul’s) loveliest room. It has the potential to become an in-demand venue space, both for library programming and for community use (receptions, parties, and events of all kinds). Relocating the public access computers that currently fill that space and replacing those computer work stations with inviting lounge-style seating for personal computer use, social or business interactions, and quiet relaxation will turn the Nicholson Information Commons into a true “common” space for Saint Paul, a space that everyone in the community can share.

Phase 1

Repurposing a former first floor café into the Otto Bremer Community Room, an inviting multi-purpose meeting and activity space.

This technology-equipped room was completed in 2013. It accommodates about 75 people and has its own catering kitchen and restrooms. It can be accessed after hours.


Phase 2 (to be completed in 2015)

Creating a welcoming “Customer Service Zone” inside the main entrance to the library

Plans call for opening up the existing Circulation area, replacing multiple service desks with one central one, and allowing for materials on hold to be picked up and checked out quickly. The area will offer self-check in and check out equipment and automated material sorting equipment that will free up library staff to provide more service to library users. It will feature much more natural light and offer a more welcoming entrance to Central Library.

Repurposing the Nicholson Information Commons on the second floor

The vision is to make this a true “commons” area, with soft, comfortable (movable) seating, good lighting, and plenty of electrical outlets for personal computer use. This room, often considered the most beautiful in the city, will see its public computers moved to another location in the library. These changes will enhance the visibility of the Saint Paul Collection on the mezzanine level and allow the room to be used for programs and events. Click here for more details about the plans.

Creating a Business Information Center in the third floor Mississippi Room

The computers now located in the Nicholson Information Commons will be relocated to this space, and business resources will be accessible here, expanding the use of the Mississippi Room.

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