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Fate of Hennepin County Library - Walker’s Outdoor ‘LIBRARY’ Sculpture? Iconic Art Will Be Reinstalled When New Library Opens in 2014

Many patrons have asked about the fate of the outdoor “LIBRARY” letter sculpture that was located on the property of Hennepin County Library – Walker, 2880 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, which closed on Sept. 22 for new construction.
Before the library closed, librarian Sandra Roback said, “Patrons ask, ‘Are you keeping them? Where will they go? Will they be part of the new building?’ It seems patrons really identify them with Walker Library.”
Thanks to funding from the Friends of the Walker Library, the sculpture was removed and stored, and when the new library opens in 2014 the letters will be reinstalled on a wall on the west side of the property.
“The ‘LIBRARY’ letter sculpture at the Walker Library is a community landmark that has become almost iconic in south Minneapolis,” said Hennepin County Commissioner Gail Dorfman. “We’re so pleased that the Friends of the Walker Library’s first contribution to the new library is to ensure that this sculpture will continue to enhance the library’s visibility for everyone who passes by when the new library opens in two years.”
The sculpture was originally created and installed on the property as part of several Walker Library improvements included in the City of Minneapolis’ 1995 Uptown Streetscape improvement project, the objective of which was to “repair and rejuvenate the physical elements at Hennepin and Lake,” according to a Minneapolis Planning Department memo. Improvements to the underground library needed at that time included fixing the leaking roof, improving interior lighting and air quality, and raising the visibility or “street presence.”
The “LIBRARY” letter sculpture was created to increase the library’s visibility from the street. The seven-foot-high letters were constructed of stainless steel because of the material’s durability and resistance to graffiti, and because it would be “more vibrant and dynamic than polished concrete.” The sculpture/signage was designed by Sara* Weiner of Leonard Parker Associates, Architects, and completed by Sheehy Construction Co.
The city’s 1995 improvement project solved the library’s serious leakage problems and improved the public service space and public plaza, but other needed library improvements costing hundreds of thousands of dollars were identified at that time, including a need for more square footage.
Walker Library is part of the Hennepin County Library system, following the merger of Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library in 2008.
To see photos of the removal of the “LIBRARY” letter sculpture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hennepincountylibrary/sets/72157631778731426/ 
Formore information about the Walker Library construction project: http://www.hclib.org/pub/info/buildingprojects/library.cfm?library=Walker


*Spelling of Sara Weiner's name corrected 11/26/12


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