Senator Stumpf, chair of the Senate Capital Investment Committee, is encouraging the library community to introduce a bill yet this session to fund Library Construction Grants. While this will not be an actual topic of discussion until the 2016 legislative session, it will put the potential of future library construction on the Senate committee’s radar as they plan fall tours of bonding project communities. Usually the Minnesota Library Association (MLA) would begin discussing the size of a library request at the summer Library Legislative Forum. However, if a bill is introduced this session, a proposed dollar amount will be needed.
The history of MLA request for construction and remodeling has varied. In 2012, MLA requested $10 million. Last session MLA asked for $3 million and the legislature appropriated $2 million for Library Construction Grants. Of this amount, $877,000 was set aside for three specific libraries, leaving $1,123,000 for the competitive grant pool. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) received five applications requesting a total of $1,851,225. Requests exceeded the funds available by $728,225.