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Detroit Lakes Library wins state art dollars

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The Lake Agassiz Regional Library system, which includes the Detroit Lakes library, is benefiting from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment passed last year.

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A portion of the amendment is being devoted to arts, arts education and arts access, and the LARL has been granted approximately $279,000 over the next two years for those purposes.

"We're just in the planning stages at this point. We don't have any specifics," Kathy Fredette, regional library director, said.

According to the Department of Natural Resources' Web site, 19.75 percent of the money raised from the amendment will be dedicated to a newly created Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to be spent only for arts, arts education, and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota's history and cultural heritage. It will yield about $48 million in 2010 and $54.5 million in 2011 for libraries throughout the state.

Now the question is how to spend that money.

There will be a series of focus group sessions for people who represent a broad range of art, culture and historical heritage to develop a framework for partnerships and programs. The Detroit Lakes meeting is scheduled for Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"We hope they are attended by potential partners," Fredette said of the meetings. There are also meetings Sept. 21 in the Moorhead library and Sept. 24 in the Crookston Library. Both also run from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"We'd really like to not only use the funds well and to reach as many people as possible, but to maximize the funds."

The LARL is asking for people who represent museums, historical societies, art guilds, symphonies, theater groups and other art and historical organizations to meet with them and gather input for partnerships and programming.

Fredette said they have done some in-house brainstorming on programs, but there are many ideas out there they likely haven't even thought of - those are the ones the library is looking for.

"We want to not only hear from the library perspective, but from those that are already doing that type of programming," she said. "I'm also hoping for partnerships that haven't been formed before. We just want to gather ideas at this point."

Those interested in attending should RSVP by Monday, Sept. 14, at pio@larl.org. Include names of those attending, their email address, and indicate which site they will attend.

"We don't want to just put programming out there and assume that this is what people want."

There is also an online survey at www.larl.org to gather citizen input as well.

Whether it is displays, lectures, group discussions and what's offered to different age groups - "there are so many possibilities" - Fredette said they are looking for input on everything.

"We're just getting started. We only found out about this recently and it was quite a surprise for the library," she said. "We were certainly excited when the amendment went through and we could partner. We have great locations"

The Legacy Funds cannot replace existing operating funds but will provide new and expanded opportunities to reach new members.

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