MINNETONKA — Quite a few numbers changed at the Hennepin County Library at Ridgedale after its renovations.
There are nine more meeting rooms, 100 more electrical outlets, faster Wi-Fi and longer holds hours.
But walking around the light, atmospheric space, parceled by lowered bookshelves and generous seating, perhaps the most impressive number is the one that didn’t stray. The library still holds 220,000 items in its collection.
“It was kind of dark, out of date, the shelving was all really, really tall,” said Ann Woodson-Hicks, a senior administrative manager. “So by lowering the shelving with the same collection, it fits and gives it a sense of lightness.”
On Monday, Sept. 25, the library reopened after more than a year of renovations tallying up to $7 million. While the library originally opened in 1982, it had last been renovated in 1999.
The library was seeing 321,000 visitors stopping in at its 55,000 square feet of space each year before renovations began. Architecture firm Gensler designed the library and Shaw-Lindquist Associates Inc. led construction.
Hennepin County District 6 Commissioner Jan Callison and Library Director Lois Langer Thompson spoke before the ribbon cutting.
Callison said the renovations reflected the values of Hennepin County.
“I think this is a place where you can certainly find good books or movies or music,” she said, “but certainly if you’re an adult, you can access resources that help you find jobs or patent your inventions or bring to life your small business ideas.”
Woodson-Hicks said through outreach, online and in-person surveys, they learned people wanted more variety in the seating and more power outlets. In other areas the library is still the same, with microfiche and opportunities for research.
A sensory, or quiet, room was added in a corner of the library as well.
“For kids and adults who may be on the autism spectrum, sometimes they need a moment to step out and the families in the past always had to leave,” she said. “Staff understands that it’s available.”
The juvenile section is categorized by age. In the children’s section, the knee-high bookcases allow kids to flip through the selection.
“What we hope is that this building represents the community,” Woodson-Hicks said, “and that it makes sense for them, as it should.”
The library is at 12601 Ridgedale Drive in Minnetonka. Part of the changes in renovation is in hours. The library is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.