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New Fargo library on schedule, within budget

The Fargo Public Library received a $30,000 grant for the general construction of its new main library last week. Thanks to private donations and nice weather, the project is within budget and on schedule, said City Commissioner Mike Williams, ch...

The Fargo Public Library received a $30,000 grant for the general construction of its new main library last week.

Thanks to private donations and nice weather, the project is within budget and on schedule, said City Commissioner Mike Williams, chairman of the library building committee.

Located at 102 N. 3rd St., the new branch's construction is expected to be finished by March and will open its doors to the public in the spring, Williams said.

Most of the $15.5 million project was funded by the $13 million raised from an 18-month city sales tax, he said.

With an additional $1.6 million in private donations, the library building committee is close to reaching its fundraising goal, Williams said.

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The $30,000 grant from the Alex Stern Family Foundation will be paid in $10,000 increments over the next three years, Fargo Public Library Director Tim Dirks said.

'Coping with success'

The main library will be the third new Fargo library in four years.

Now, the Fargo libraries' biggest challenge is to increase their collections to fill their new facilities, Dirks said.

Last year, the Dr. James Carlson Library opened at 2801 32nd Ave. S., and a branch located in the Northport Shopping Center, 2714 Broadway, opened in 2006.

"We are an organization that's essentially coping with success," Dirks said. "We're learning how to use the new spaces efficiently."

The new downtown library will be a "green" building. Much of it is constructed with recycled materials and its white roof will reflect the sun, which will cut down on thermal pollution, Williams said.

The 54,500-square-foot facility will feature a large meeting room, a children's theater, a teen room, study rooms and a fireplace.

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The public is excited about the new facility and will draw in new visitors, said Dirks, who took over as library director in January.

The number of 2008 Fargo library visitors has increased by about 16 percent compared to this time last year, he said.

For more information, visit www.fargolibrary.org .

Readers can reach Forum reporter Alyssa Schafer at (701) 235-7311

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