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Classical Notes: May 14, 2006 Archive

Making Noise in the Library

Posted at 8:27 PM on May 14, 2006 by John Birge
Filed under: The blog

This Saturday May 20, meet Classical Minnesota Public Radio at the grand opening celebration of the new Minneapolis Central Public Library. Julie Amacher, Jeff Esworthy, and I will be in the music department from 11am-2pm. Our little Mozart Lounge is a small part of a huge day-long celebration in and around this spectacular new building. Please stop by and say hello! Info at our events calendar. BTW, last week I went over to check our setup, and got a sneak peek of Cesar Pelli's new building, full of very inspiring spaces. Get your own sneak preview in this Sunday Star Tribune feature.

While I'm on the subject, can you imagine life without a free public library? Can any society call itself civilized without one?!? Here are some statistics that speak volumes about civilized Minneapolitan's love of learning and libraries:

1. 75% of Minneapolis households use MPL every year, and 25% of households use MPL 20 or more times annually.

2. 80% of Minneapolis children have library cards -- far above national averages.

3. MPL has the 4th most card holders per capita of any major American city.

4. Minneapolis holds the 3rd largest per capita library collection of any major American city.

5. The new Central Library has 38.5 miles of shelving.

6. At the new Central Library, virtually 100% of the collection will be at the fingertips of patrons (up from 15% previously)

7. With 297 public computers (up from 75 in the old building), the new Central Library will provide more computer access than any other building in the state.

8. MPL has 350,000 registered borrowers, including 70,000 (20%) who live outside of Minneapolis.

9. In a typical year, MPL circulates 3 million items, answers nearly 2 million reference questions, and welcomes more than 1.5 million on-site users.

10. MPL is actively collecting learning materials in more than 30 languages.

As a St Paul resident, I still hold a special spot for our treasured old James J. Hill library building (now that's a library), but where borrowing is concerned, I play both sides of the river, and I hope to celebrate the newest grand library with you on Saturday.