BEMIDJI -- The fully restored Bemidji Carnegie Library will open its new doors to the public for a celebration next month.
The open house event, set for 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, will commemorate the completion of a project to restore the interior and exterior of the structure along Bemidji Avenue North. In 2018, the city of Bemidji, which owns the building, approved the restoration of the library, which originally opened in 1910.
Much of the $2.2 million cost has been covered by the volunteer Friends of the Carnegie Library Group, which raised funds and wrote grants to collect just more than $2 million. As part of the project's approval, the city agreed to cover the roughly $200,000 shortfall, with the intention the Friends group would continue fundraising.
Once finished, the Carnegie's upper level will be available for rent through the city's Parks and Recreation Department. The lower level, meanwhile, includes two sections of office space, with tenants ready to move in.
Additionally, Storytime at the Carnegie, a new reading program for children, is set to start in September.
The Bemidji Carnegie was one of 1,679 built across the nation from 1886-1919 through a donation by Andrew Carnegie.