Hennepin County Libraries Continue to Reinvent Themselves

September 15, 2017 07:17 PM

At least once a week, you can find Dave Griepp walking up and down the aisles of a library near him.

He's usually picking something out for he and his wife.


Going to the library, he said, has been a routine since he was a child.

"Since I was about nine," he said.

And Griepp said it's hard to beat the variety of items Hennepin County Libraries have to offer.

"It's up to the minute," he said. "It's got a lot of new stuff. It's current."

Hennepin County's 41 libraries are always in the process of reinventing themselves.

Library Director Lois Langer Thompson said it's about creating a meaningful experience for patrons.

"And so we work with the community to understand what services they're looking for," she said.

In 2016, Hennepin County Libraries were visited over 18.2 million times in person and online. 

The top five circulating collections included DVDs, non-fiction, easy fiction, fiction and CDs.

The number of cardholders was about 862,000 in 2016. That's 22,000 more than the previous year.

A total of 13.6 million items were checked out in 2016. In 2015, that number was nearly 16.2 million.

In an effort to continue drawing people into the system, officials are using tech squads to teach library goers about technology, and to try out 3D printing. 

They're also opening boardrooms for meetings of groups like neighborhood associations and local businesses. And they're doing outreach through popup libraries at locations like farmers markets and neighborhood gatherings.

"It gives people the chance to experience a library in a smaller more intimate setting," Langer Thompson said. "They can get a library card and connect to resources."  


Todd Wilson

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