This is an exciting time for residents of Cloquet and the surrounding area. Our public library has been awarded a grant of $784,000, contingent on the City providing the balance of construction costs.

That is no small change and a great savings to our city for an improvement to a well-used city building. I understand that bids came in higher than anticipated and this now creates a dilemma for our City Council on whether to proceed with the project. If the Council rejects the project based on the bids, they will lose $784,000.

The library needs an addition. It was originally planned with the idea that an addition would be built in 25 years. We are past that deadline, now over 30 years in the building. Several space needs studies have pointed to the urgency of additional space to accommodate the increased use.

Attendance for library programs often is beyond the capacity of the meeting rooms. Teens gather after school to play games and socialize but often the noise generated creates a problem for adults who come to read or work on projects away from home. The library is a community space that has long ago become more than checking out books.

Libraries play an essential role in providing information for learning, recreational reading, informational programming, exposure to different ideas and cultures, and social interaction.

I encourage the City Council to approve the bonding for the addition. I also encourage people to donate to the Cloquet Shaw Memorial Library Foundation to help raise funds to lower the amount the City will need to commit to bonding.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Beth Sorenson, library director, at 218-879-1531.