City discusses Dickinson Area Public Library expansion

The Dickinson Area Public Library provided the Dickinson City Commission with an update of its expansion Tuesday evening at City Hall.

The Dickinson Area Public Library, pictured above, is proposing an expansion project . (Jackie Jahfetson/The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson Area Public Library is looking to expand its services with a projected building expansion, and provided an outlook to the Dickinson City Commission Tuesday evening.

The Dickinson City Commission met Tuesday at City Hall and Library Director Rita Ennen of the Dickinson Area Public Library presented information on an update of the proposed expansion/remodeling project.

Overall construction costs total $9 to $10 million. Preliminary costs are projected at approximately $9.5 million, which does not include any contingency numbers or architect fees, according to city documents.

Some of the main considerations the Dickinson Area Public Library hopes for with its building expansion is the creation of dedicated spaces for children’s programming and STEAM programming. Ennen said the library’s children’s programming is highly effective. Even though the programs have been offered virtually to the public over the past year, the programs have reached over thousands of views. The new added spaces will allow for extra spacing and not interfere with other library programs, Ennen noted.

Other considerations to the library expansion include relocating the adult non-fiction collection from the children’s level, community meeting spaces, a coffee bar, green space for programming and parking.


The expansion and remodeling of the Dickinson Area Public Library will include two phases, with a possibility of a third phase, Ennen said.

“We’re committed to… offer library services. We don’t envision closing the library altogether for a year or something as many places do. We hope to not do that. And moving (with) a phase approach is part of how that can happen,” Ennen said.

Phase one will entail the “actual expansion” of the library building, out to the south. An auditorium would also be added to that portion of the building and it would extend all the way down to the end of the block, creating a setting that would support more seating, presentations and performances for the community. The south side addition will include maker places, which are places in which young students with shared computing, mathematics and technology skills can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment and knowledge. In addition, the south side will also feature a gallery of North Dakota collections.

The timeline of the project depends on fundraising efforts, Ennen said.

The Dickinson Public Library Foundation has purchased the properties that the expansion will be built on and are in the process of possibly donating those properties to the city of Dickinson. The foundation has put in $470,000 in this project with those property purchases.

Ennen added that the library will be looking at some grants to further fund the completion of this project.

Mayor Scott Decker noted that the city may possibly fund the same amount of $3 million it gave to the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. That discussion will be revisited in March.

To learn more about the Dickinson Public Library Foundation expansion project or to donate to the GoFundMe campaign, visit


Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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