Hamline Midway Library to Close and Make Way for New Building
The Hamline Midway branch of the Saint Paul Public Library is set to close at the end of this month, making room for a new and improved facility.
The decision comes after months of engagement efforts with the community, led by the mayor and the library’s interim director, Maureen Hartman.
The closure of the 92-year-old library marks a significant change in the area.
The original library was established by entrepreneur Henry Hale, who even included funding for it in his last will and testament.
Its historical significance has been acknowledged, with its recent inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to the activism of community members and architectural archivist Barbara Bazart.
However, despite its historical value, the building is scheduled for demolition as part of a larger plan to transform several libraries in the city.
The community’s desire for more accessible spaces for reading, playing, and meeting prompted the decision to replace the Hamline Midway Library.
The new library, which will be constructed on the same site, aims to meet the community’s needs.
Spanning nearly 11,000 square feet, the design incorporates elements of neighborhood culture while preserving the original archway, bricks, and mosaic in innovative ways.
It will feature a dedicated children’s area, study rooms, and an outdoor garden.
Although some residents express concerns about losing the historical significance of the current library, the focus remains on delivering the services and spaces that the community has requested.
Hartman emphasizes that the limitations of the existing space prevent meeting these demands, and renovation alone would not suffice.
While the closure and demolition plans proceed, the Saint Paul Public Library has secured $8 million in funding through the city’s capital investment budget process.
The project is also undergoing an environmental review, and the public has a 30-day window to provide comments on the future of the library.
Despite the current challenges, the efforts to preserve the historical value of the Hamline Midway Library are not yet over.
Supporters of the library view the closure as a temporary setback, confident that the community’s needs will be met with the construction of the new facility.
The city aims to address the concerns and voices of its residents as it moves forward with this significant project.