County will provide library services to Lake Elmo

Some members of the Lake Elmo Public Library Board want to revisit transparency practices after board discussions were intentionally omitted from official minutes. (Gazette file photo)

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a contract with the City of Lake Elmo June 20 to provide library services to the community.

In January 2012, the city of Lake Elmo withdrew from the Washington County Library and established a city library levy and public library for the city’s residents.

Earlier this year, the Lake Elmo City Council directed city staff to work with county staff to explore opportunities for the Lake Elmo Library to return to the Washington County Library. In May, the Lake Elmo Library Board recommended that the Lake Elmo City Council include the city in the county library tax and become part of county’s library system, and the city council agreed.

The county agreed that the Lake Elmo Branch will be open a minimum of 40 hours, the current Lake Elmo Library staff will become county employees, and volunteers at the library will continue in a similar capacity.

When the Lake Elmo Library is part of the county library, the county will no longer charge Lake Elmo residents $60 for a Washington County Library card.

The city of Lake Elmo will return to the Washington County Library Jan. 1, 2018.

Washington County will operate Lake Elmo Library at its current location, 3537 Lake Elmo Ave. N. in Lake Elmo. The city agreed to convey the library land and building to the county, and the city will pave the parking lot to the east of the Lake Elmo Library.

  • ctmurray

    It is a bit misleading to say LE withdrew from the Washington Co. library system. Washco closed the LE library and offered only some lockers for books to be exchanged. Technically they declined this offer and thus ended the relationship. My wife and I were volunteers that helped re-start a library downtown. Generously donated books came to us. An abandoned building was found and re-habbed. LE city leaders came forward with funding. All together we rose from the dead this library. My inside contacts say the new contract with Washco is that the library has to stay open for 5 years. I predict that 5 yrs and a day will elapse before Washco announces the closing of the Library. The only way to avoid this is for LE to increase its population and/or greatly increases the visits to the physical library and to use the library in-house programming. And I am not optimistic either will happen enough to satisfy Washco. And in 5 years the residents will have to start over one more time,