historic Carnegie Library building in Manitou Springs
The city of Manitou Springs is deciding what to do with the historic Carnegie Library building.

The Pikes Peak Library District and Manitou Art Center are exploring a potential co-location partnership that could benefit library cardholders, MAC members, local artists, community partners, taxpayers and the local economy.

“PPLD and the MAC have a strong history of collaboration, working closely together to positively impact lives and strengthen community,” PPLD Chief Librarian and CEO John Spears said. “We’re excited about possibly pairing our physical collection and other library services inside an existing space that already provides opportunity to create, learn, exhibit, perform, and connect with others in Manitou Springs.”

These discussions are taking place as the Manitou Springs determines what to do with the historic Carnegie Library building, owned by the city and currently leased by PPLD for the Manitou Springs Library.

On July 7, City Council voted to discontinue the lease agreement, permitting PPLD to explore other location options in Manitou Springs that offer ADA accessibility, in addition to the ability to provide meeting rooms, computer labs and creative studios to the community.

“While the Carnegie Library building is rich in history and meaning, it’s not currently adequate or suitable as a public library space,” Spears said. “PPLD’s departure would provide the city with the necessary time to plan for the building’s future and allow us to relocate so we can best serve Manitou Springs residents — and in a way that’s on par with the rest of our library district.”

The district and the MAC are considering the possibility of housing the Manitou Springs Library inside of the MAC while still providing access and use for MAC supporters, local artists and community partners.

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In this scenario, PPLD could provide staff support and a physical collection of books and other library materials, along with access to resources like meeting rooms and creative spaces, for library patrons. MAC members and artists would still maintain benefits while gaining more opportunities and exposure.

The partnership would bring together music, theatre, visual art and the vast resources and services of the public library in one space.

“We have already experienced great success partnering with PPLD on a number of initiatives, and the MAC is excited about this opportunity, which could lead us to do even more for the community in the future,” MAC Executive Director Natalie Johnson said.

“This co-location venture also could provide other long-term benefits, like minimizing infrastructure costs for MAC and PPLD while leveraging and complementing each other’s strengths of service,” Johnson said. “This would truly be a win-win for MAC supporters and members, PPLD cardholders and residents of Manitou Springs.”

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