Planning process continues for Nobles County Library's Worthington branch

Initially, the Historical Society’s large room in the middle of the building’s basement could become a program space for library events.

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Library’s implementation plan, a blueprint for the first year of its 2022-2024 strategic plan, should be complete by Nov. 4, Library Director David Bradford told the Nobles County Board of Commissioners Wednesday.

“As part of that, we’ve been looking at the ( Worthington branch) building and the services,” Bradford said, such as what will initially be done with the Nobles County Historical Society ’s space in the basement when the society completes its move to the historic Armory.

While the implementation plan is not yet complete, Bradford did list some possibilities when commissioners asked for them.

The Historical Society’s large room in the middle of the building’s basement would likely be made into a program space for events, and part of the office space would be used for storage, with the rest as a conference/study room, Bradford said. Cameras would be placed there for security purposes.


“This is just short-term, trying to figure out what we do with the space right now,” Bradford said.

These initial uses of the space will likely not mean additional costs for the county, he added, because the library didn’t have a director in 2019 and for six months was short a librarian. That money was in the budget and rolled over, and can be used to modify the basement space for the library’s use.

Commissioner Bob Paplow asked if the Nobles County Arts Center would get to use the program space for events as well.

“We haven’t had any discussions about that,” Bradford said.

“They would like to use part of that too,” Paplow said. “They have in the past, but evidently they can’t get into it now.”

Bradford said the Arts Center’s use of the space should be possible, as it will be an open area for programs. He also said he is still investigating the possibilities.

“I would like to see some more collaboration with you and the Historical Society and the Arts Center as to what’s going on. Everybody should be kept in the loop,” said Commissioner Donald Linssen. “... we need to see that that happens.”


Bradford said he would like to get a fixed date as to when the Historical Society will be completely moved out, and Commissioner Justin Ahlers said he would let the Historical Society know that.

Long-term considerations for any remodeling, renovation or additions to the existing building include maintaining enough space for parking. Bradford said the city of Worthington ’s required parking per square foot is double Marshall’s parking requirement. Commissioner Gene Metz asked if the library would be grandfathered in if renovations were strictly internal; Bradford answered he does not yet have a solid answer for that, but said the library will continue to work with the city on the issue.

“We like your approach,” Metz said. “Keep it simple. Keep it cheap.”

In other news Wednesday, the county board:

  • Agreed to amend the county’s 5-Year Road Plan, which was approved in June, after a recent bridge inspection found improvements are required on two bridges on Nobles County 54, meaning it might be better to delay scheduled road improvement until the bridge work is done. County Engineer Aaron Holmbeck also said he is still collecting survey data for Nobles County 10, with a focus on the area by Worthington Middle School, the Area Learning Center and the Intermediate School, where traffic has increased and is expected to increase further.

  • Received an update on the county’s data center and its IT department, which also serves other government-related service organizations. Recent infrastructure investments will allow the department to expand its services.

  • Approved appropriations for the next budgetary year.

  • Heard an update on the Nobles Soil & Water Conservation District from John Shea, its district manager, on potential funding sources for the future, including riparian aid funds and aquatic invasive species funds.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Phone: (507) 376-7319
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