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Minnesota West offers to collaborate with county on new library

Minnesota West Community and Technical College

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners may now have a new option to consider in its quest to build a new county library in Worthington -- a potential collaboration with Minnesota West Community and Technical College's Worthington campus.

During Tuesday morning's board meeting, county administrator Mel Ruppert said he had received a request from the college to speak with the county about integrating the college library with a new public library on the Minnesota West campus.

Ruppert said the Minnesota State College and University system has a working relationship with a library in St. Paul, and he is in the process of gathering information on how that collaboration works. He told commissioners the idea would have to go through the state legislature, which could be a "four, six or 10-year process."

"I think this is good," said Commissioner Diane Thier. "We've said all along we don't have the money right now."

While the latest site to be considered by commissioners is the former outdoor pool area, Commissioner Marv Zylstra said it makes sense to look at the college.

"I don't see us standing alone and building on the pool site," Zylstra said. "I can see some merit in (collaborating with the college) on that type of facility. Your hours would be expanded, and there's opportunities for work study with students."

Commissioner David Benson expressed concern with moving the library too far from the city center.

"There are a lot of young kids and families at the library," Benson said. "Getting that distance from the population center ties you to that automobile."

Ruppert said other opportunities for collaborating on a library have come forth, including from District 518 Schools. More discussion on the library is planned during a city, county and school meeting slated for Thursday morning in Worthington.

Meanwhile, commissioners Thier and Vern Leistico volunteered to serve on a committee to meet with Minnesota West.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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