Save the Carnegie Library in Bemidji Minnesota

Help us preserve this treasured landmark, and restore its role as a vibrant centerpiece fo our community

Please volunteer your time and talents

Please make a tax-deductible contribution to our capital fund

The future of the CarnegieThe future of the Carnegie

The VisionThe Vision

Shaynowishkung Monument in Library Park →

The community has the vision to develop new public uses for the building, to capitalize on its significance, the quality of its construction, and its unique site overlooking Lake Bemidji.

The restored and improved Carnegie will be safe, accessible, and inviting, as well as economically viable and energy efficient. This will be a place for all of us—individuals and groups, residents and visitors—to use and enjoy.

Andrew Carnegie built his libraries to benefit the public. As Bemidji moves into its second century, we will bring "our Carnegie" along with us to grace our lakeshore and enhance our city.

The Plan: Restoration and RenovationThe Plan:Restoration and Renovation

An experienced historical building restoration firm has evaluated the condition of the building, to provide a detailed scope and budget for the project. While the structure itself is remarkably well preserved, the building is generally in disrepair, and no longer complies with current codes.

We have held several open meetings in order to get community input on the future uses for the building. People tell us that it is important to create a safe, accessible, and inviting space, with improvements to also make the building more economically viable and energy efficient.

The community strongly desires to use the building in ways that showcase the building's significance, the quality of its construction, and its unique position overlooking the sparkling waters of Lake Bemidji. This will be a place for all of us to use and enjoy.

The renovation will improve the exterior and interior building access with an elevator for ADA compliance, repair damage to the stone façade, and install new, energy-efficient windows, HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. Additional interior upgrades include new restrooms and restoration of the historic woodwork including doors, frames and hardware.

The current plans include refurbishing the upper level as a conference and retreat center, used for events from meetings to weddings. It will have open spaces and a lovely view through the trees to the lake. The lower level will have offices or a space for a tenant, with catering facilities and accessible restrooms.

As we restore the interior of the Carnegie, we intend to create an ongoing exhibit of regional Native American history and culture to celebrate this long and rich story, significant to the Ojibwe as well as those who settled here later. The exhibit will expand on the life of Shaynowishkung (Chief Bemidji) but also reflect on the pre-contact and post-contact life of the Ojibwe of Red Lake, White Earth, Leech Lake, and Bemidji. Lastly it will document the history of the Carnegie Library itself and its importance to the community.

Serving civic and lakefront activities, our Carnegie will once again be a focus of civic pride.

The TimelineTimeline

The project will span several years from initial planning, through the capital campaign, to completion of the restoration.

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