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Hennepin Co. libraries ready for bigger role as distance learning approaches school year

Hennepin County Library officials say they're excited to take on a bigger role in students' education this fall.

MINNEAPOLIS — On Thursday, Governor Walz announced he will be leaving it up to local school districts to decide what kind of learning model they want to go with come this fall. 

The Minneapolis school district decided that they're going to be starting out the year virtually. 

The Hennepin County Library said with that in mind, it is excited to take on an even bigger role in students' education.

To say that libraries are important to a community is an understatement.

"We're an information resource, we're a community building resource," Amy Luedtke said. Luedtke has been with the Hennepin County Library system for more than two decades. "For both really running the gamut, for students, job seekers, for people who really enjoy reading, which is wonderful."

Luedtke said the libraries around the county are gearing up to play some important roles for students when the academic year begins.

"We have been providing a resources, electronically and virtually to students and families and educators for many years, so we feel we have a strong foundation that we can build on," Luedtke said.

From accessible, and vetted online databases to homework help or tutor-finding portals--the library has always had these resources available. Now more pivotal than ever. She said talks with the Minneapolis Public Schools are early right now but local libraries are really taking charge in how they can provide support each community needs.

"Our youth services libraries are really in touch with their local schools and so they're continuing those conversations to just affirm for educators and schools that we're here for you," she said.

They have accessibility covered too, for those who don't have access to WiFi or a computer at home.

"Most of our libraries will have some type of computer by appointment service, so students will be able to schedule a time at a library to use a library computer," Luedtke said. "Again, we're definitely making that as safe as possible and the computers are socially distanced and cleaned, and everyone will be wearing masks."

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