White Bear Lake Building Project

Opening Success

The Grand Opening Celebration of the newly remodeled library in White Bear Lake was a great success, with more than 2,900 people checking out more than 3,000 items.

After opening speeches from Library Board Chair Kim Vanderwall, County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt and Mayor Jo Emerson, community members and library supporters enjoyed refreshments and music from The Roe Family Singers and Reception Jazz.

The new library, located at 2150 2nd Street, was easily the most popular attraction of the day. Attendees made use of the library's fireplace lounge and expanded public computing area. Children enjoyed a light-filled children's area featuring an interactive sailboat designed by the Minnesota Children’s Museum, while teens congregated in the new spacious teen area.

The 16,500 square foot space also includes an external materials return, study rooms, state of the art meeting room technology including a hearing loop assistive listening system and a reading garden - planting will begin in late May.

Special thanks to the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries who helped make the Grand Opening Celebration possible.


White Bear Lake Grand Opening
Saturday, April 11
10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Ramsey County Library cordially invites you to the Grand Opening of the library in White Bear Lake on Saturday, April 11 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come and enjoy a fun-filled day of music, activities and refreshments.

The day will start with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a few words from Library Board Chair Kim Vanderwall, County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt and Mayor Jo Emerson. The Roe Family Singers will provide music entertainment in the morning and Reception Jazz will play in the afternoon.

The star of the day will be the improved and expanded building. Come and see the light-filled children's area featuring pre-literacy interactive installations. The re-designed study and lounge spaces are sure to be crowd-pleasers, as well as the new stone fireplace that is the focus of a comfy reading area. Other building highlights include expanded public computing, small group study rooms, and a spacious teen area. We’ve also added $70,000-worth of shiny new materials.  Don’t forget to check them out too.

Come celebrate a new era of library service in the White Bear Lake area!


Save the Date! 

The library in White Bear Lake Grand Opening has been scheduled for Saturday, April 11, 2015. Stay tuned for developing details.


Grant Announcements
December 2014

The Library has received notification that it has been awarded a $200,000 State Library Construction Grant. Funded by the Minnesota Department of Education, the grant is a competitive dollar for dollar matching grant that helps public libraries fund renovation, construction and improvement projects. 

The Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries are also pleased to announce that as of December 15, grants have been received from the F. R. Bigelow Foundation, the Mardag Foundation, the Saint Paul Foundation, and the Vadnais Heights Area Community Foundation.


White Bear Lake Library Update
November 2014

Construction is moving along in White Bear Lake. The addition to the north end of the building has been roughed in and the outline of the new facility is taking shape. The parking lot has been reconfigured to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

The library’s new entrance will be on 2nd Street facing downtown. Because of the relocation of the entrance, the address of the library has changed from 4698 Clark Ave to 2150 2nd Street.

Work is progressing on the interior design.  Take a sneak peak at the fabric samples below.  For the teen and children areas, a nice earthy pallet makes up a comfortable lounging environment.  In contrast, the overall adult fabric of neutrals and grays with a hint of lime green gives a nice and quiet environment for patrons.

Teen Fabric Samples Children Fabric Samples
Adult Fabric Samples  


September 2014

The Friends of Ramsey County Libraries have a good start on the campaign and new donations are coming in every week.   Donations of all sizes are welcome and needed to add the amenities that could not be included in the Ramsey County budget but can significantly enrich the quality of the library experience for people of all ages.

An exciting plan that will accommodate a variety of uses for the outdoor reading patio has been designed by the

architects (pictured right).  The goal is to raise $200,000 by December 31, 2015, to fund the patio, new technologies, a fireplace, literacy-building equipment for children, lighted display cases, art and many other special items. 

Please help us reach that goal by sending a tax deductible donation to the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries or donating online at www.wblibrary.weebly.com, opens a new window.  For more information call 651 486-2213.

Building Project Update
August 2014

In mid-June, the library’s neighbors to the east approached the Library Director about selling their property to the County. This generated an unexpected opportunity to create improved parking, better pedestrian safety and traffic flow. The County Commissioners agreed that purchasing the property to the east would enhance the overall project enough to justify a slight extension to the timeline. Once that had been decided, the County submitted a revised Conditional Use Permit to the City of White Bear Lake and applied to have the new property rezoned from “residential” to “public”. The revised CUP has been approved and the rezoning is scheduled to have a final hearing in early September. 

In the meantime, a lot has been happening behind the scenes. Both the house and the library have undergone hazardous materials abatement. Parts of the house are being salvaged for re-use before demolition. The final hearing with the Watershed District is scheduled for August 26. Bid packages have been distributed to subcontractors. Steel, demolition, and site work packages have been received and evaluated. The contractor, County, and Library are meeting with immediate  neighbors on August 28.

The opening of the library is now anticipated to be early spring 2015. 


Ground Breaking Ceremony

A crowd of County, City and Library officials gathered with residents and library patrons to break ground for the expansion and remodel of the library in White Bear Lake on Friday, July 18.

“The Library’s vision is to create extraordinary learning environments and experiences,” said Kim Vanderwall, Library Board Vice Chair.   “That is exactly what we’re doing with this building.” 

When finished, the library will be 16,500 square feet and will balance function and delight. The new design will feature efficient layout, up-to-date technology, improved spaces for kids and teens, more study spaces, and more computer and Internet access.

“This renovation will reflect the unique character of the White Bear Community,” said Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt. Many citizens have come together to help make sure the rich history of library service in White Bear Lake is preserved. We are all in this together.”  

The Friends of Ramsey County Libraries Capital Committee, made up of local citizens and chaired by Jim Berry, has set a fund-raising goal of $200,000 for amenities. They are hard at work creating opportunities for library lovers to get involved to help fund a custom fireplace, children’s literacy equipment and a reading patio and garden.

“This is going to be our gathering place,” said Mayor Jo Emerson.  “A place that will continue to enhance our community. The city is looking forward to this project.”

The architectural firm of Bentz, Thompson, Rietow created the design for the new library and Knutson Construction is the construction manager.  Construction should be completed by early spring 2015.


Building Project Update
June 2014

Work continues with the design/construction team of Knutson Construction and Bentz/Thompson/ Rietow Architects.  Design meetings are taking place regularly; an updated exterior image is pictured here.

Plans of the remodel and expansion were approved by the White Bear Lake Planning Committee on May 19 and approved by the City Council at their meeting on May 27.  On May 21, the Library Board approved the Phase I design and project timeline.  

The Feasibility Study for the library in White Bear Lake recommended the purchase of the property adjacent to the library when it became available.  The Library is currently in negotiations with the property owners immediately to the east. The acquisition of that property allows reconfigured access to the parking lot which will improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety while increasing parking capacity. 

The Friends will hold a used book and furniture sale in conjunction with Manitou Days.  Proceeds from this sale will benefit the White Bear Lake Library Capital Campaign.


White Bear Lake Remodel: Your Questions Answered

When will the library in White Bear Lake close?
The library will close at the end of regular business hours on June 5, 2014.  The bookdrop will remain open for one week after the library closes.

When will the remodeled library open?
The remodeled and expanded library is expected to open in early spring 2015.

Where should I return my books when the Library is closed?
After June 12, 2014, the bookdrop at the library in White Bear Lake will be closed.  You can return your materials to any Twin Cities public library.  The closest libraries are in Forest Lake, opens a new window, Mahtomedi, opens a new window, Maplewood and Shoreview.

Where can I pick up my requests?
You can designate any Ramsey County Library as a request pick-up location when the library in White Bear Lake is closed.  Please ask a librarian to make this change.  All non-designated requests will be sent to the library in Maplewood.  

What will happen to storytimes?
Beginning July 11, the White Bear Lake Children’s Librarian will continue storytimes on Fridays at 10:30 a.m. at Pioneer Manor, a City-owned senior housing facility located at 2225 6th Street.

What about other events?
History programs, co-sponsored by the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, will be moved to the White Bear Lake City Council Chambers.  

Mystery Book Club will meet in City Hall’s second floor conference room.

Extended Hours for Shoreview:
The library in Shoreview will be open additional hours starting July 1, 2014.

Mon - Thu        10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Fri & Sat          10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sun                  12 to 5 p.m.


Preliminary Designs

Thank you to the many patrons and community members who joined us at the community meeting on March 18 to review preliminary designs for the remodel and expansion of the library in White Bear Lake.  The discussion was lively and informative.

It's not too late to share your thoughts on the designs below!   Contact us via Facebook, opens a new window, Twitter, opens a new window or email.

Benefits of this project:

  • Total Area Increased to 16,500 SF
  • New Expandable Community Program Room
  • Expanded Children’s Area Featuring a Pre-literacy Play Area and Increased Study and Lounge Space
  • Expanded Teen Area with Increased Seating
  • Increase Computer Workstations by 1/3
  • Added Small Group Study rooms
  • Improved Overall Lighting, Visibility and Access
  • Fire Protection
  • Accessible and Family Toilet Rooms
  • Improved Energy Efficiency
  • New Collections

White Bear Lake Building Project

Ramsey County Library's Facilities Master Plan (2008 – 2018) explains that the library in White Bear Lake is approaching forty years old and does not have the infrastructure or the flexibility necessary to easily reconfigure it to meet the needs of today’s patrons.

White Bear Lake community members participated in a focus group meeting on October 25, 2012, to share their thoughts and ideas about the area, library services and future needs. A link to the document is below. 

The Library presented the White Bear Lake and Shoreview project proposals to the Ramsey County Capital Investment Program Advisory Committee (CIPAC) on April 4, 2013. Committee members were supportive.

The Library and County Boards authorized the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) which was released on November 13. Six firms submitted proposals. The evaluation team unanimously recommended the selection of Knutson Construction with Bentz/Thompson/Rietow Architects as the design/build team.

Ramsey County will be piloting the State of Minnesota Sustainable Building 2030 (SB 2030) energy standards process in this project. The goal of this pilot project will be to set specific performance targets (energy standards) for the renovated building, and to evaluate this process for possible adoption by the County on future projects.

Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries are working with community leaders to raise private funds for the amenities that will help the Library more effectively meet the needs of people of all ages.  A capital campaign committee has been formed and will be chaired by Jim Berry. 

Watch for a project timeline and information about the capital campaign coming soon.


Project Documents

Community Focus Group Minutes

White Bear Lake Citizens Task Force Report

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