Mayor Chris Coleman announced today that he is renaming Central Library in honor of former mayor and Saint Paul icon George Latimer. The renaming to “George Latimer Central Library” will be formalized by the Saint Paul City Council later this month.
Serving as Saint Paul Mayor from 1976 to 1990, Latimer’s accomplishments include launching the Family Housing Fund, prioritizing sustainable practices through improved infrastructure, creating District Energy and championing early childhood education long before its importance was widely recognized.
“George continues to reflect Saint Paul’s unique spirit,” Mayor Chris Coleman said. “His crucial work and legacy will outlive all of us, and it is only fitting that one of our most beautiful and historic buildings, committed to the education and enrichment of our residents, bear his name. There is no better place for George’s name than in the company of another Saint Paul luminary—James J. Hill.”
Council President Kathy Lantry said, “It seems fitting that a building located in the physical and emotional
heart of Saint Paul should be named for Mayor George Latimer. I can’t think of a more perfect
recognition of the Mayor's many contributions to the city.”
Central Library is connected to the James J. Hill Reference Library—the city’s first library and one of its most iconic structures, founded by the celebrated railroad magnate.
“Growing up in Saint Paul, Mayor Latimer was always the leader you looked up to and I’m proud to have his name and legacy made permanent with this honor,” Saint Paul City Councilmember and Library Board Chair Chris Tolbert said.
A new plaque designating the renaming will be unveiled at an event on June 10, 2014 at Central Library from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The Friends of the Saint Paul Library will also announce a fundraising campaign in Latimer’s honor designated to support library programming in Saint Paul.
“Mayor Latimer’s commitment to libraries and the evolving role they play in our lives has been steadfast and inspiring. We’re excited for the opportunity to dedicate some of our endowment in his name and augment that with a fundraising campaign to help Saint Paul families thrive now and in the future,” Peter Pearson, President of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, said.
“We are honored to have Mayor Latimer’s name placed on Central Library,” Kit Hadley, Director of the Saint Paul Public Library, said. “All of Saint Paul has benefitted from his tireless work, from education to affordable housing to helping those in need. There is no more fitting name for this library given Mayor Latimer’s work with the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and the fact that libraries are active centers for community engagement.”