By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, MN “Our space right now is pretty cramped; we get a lot of kids in, and we don’t have room for any kind of programming,” Winsted Library Board Member Julie Guggemos told the Winsted City Council at its work session Tuesday.
The Winsted Public Library currently rents 1,500 square feet of space downtown for $550 per month (not including utilities).
Guggemos presented two possibilities for expansion. One would be to expand through the north wall, adding 870 square feet (for a total of 2,370 square feet of library space).
The estimated construction cost for this project is $10,000. The building owners would absorb some of the cost, according to Guggemos.
The new rent price would be $850 per month.
Guggemos said the additional space would serve the library’s needs well into the future.
A second option would be to move the library into the 7,000-square-foot building vacated by Dueber’s. No construction costs would be incurred, but rent would be $1,300 per month.
Mayor Steve Stotko asked if the Dueber’s space would be too large for the library.
“I think we’d grow into it, but it would probably feel pretty cavernous for a little while,” Guggemos said, explaining that money would be needed for shelving, computers, and furnishings.
Council Member Bonnie Quast suggested making extra space available as a meeting area, or having another entity rent a portion of it.
“The Winsted Arts Council would be great for that, since we have a similar mission, but they just signed a year lease,” Guggemos said, adding that it could be an option for next year.
According to Guggemos, Winsted’s library usage is substantially higher than libraries of comparable size.
“Our library is often compared to Atwater, and our circulation is about twice theirs,” she said. “Of libraries in our system, Brownton is probably the closest, and we’re about three times their circulation.”
Because of its small size, the Winsted library has to be selective about the books in its collection. Guggemos said assistant librarian Lisa Ebert does a good job keeping the collection very current, but it would be nice to have the space for more materials.
Additional computers would also be beneficial, according to Guggemos, because the two currently available are “constantly in use” during library hours.
Patrons have also told Guggemos they would like space to read at the library.
The council plans to gather more information and discuss its options at the Tuesday, Aug. 20 work session.
Odds and ends
In other work session business, the council:
• discussed the proposed ice skating rink. Stotko said a 70-foot-by-165-foot rink would fit well between the baseball and football field.
“There is already lighting down there, and little to no grading has to be done,” he said.
Stotko said he received a quote for a rink with wood sides for $39,000, plus $12,000 in labor. The concrete cost is not included.
• heard from Quast that the council should make a decision regarding utility connection to the Herald Journal’s western commercial lot. The council plans to add the item to a future work session agenda.
• heard from Council Member Max Fasching that he has received noise and blight complaints from residents regarding a skid loader refurbishing business being operated out of a neighbor’s home.