One of the focal points of a community is its library. Superior’s is centrally located, on beautiful grounds, with a subdued façade—about as far as it can get from the building’s previous life as an old supermarket. This former ugly brick box now anchors art in a city often underappreciated for its beauty.
Adult Programming Librarian Leslie Mehle is the go-to person for what patrons need when they walk in the door. We sat down recently to talk about the Superior Public Library’s recent renovations and upcoming activities.
Photo by B. Ramsey/ IngeborgVonAgassiz.com
Duluth folk singer and painter Ingeborg von Agassiz will be among those appearing at the ninth annual Love Your Local Artist at the Superior Public Library.
Zenith: What is the new Superior Library looking like?
Leslie Mehle: With lower shelves and a new entrance, the biggest obvious change at the library is the sense of openness and the increased natural light. We also have all brand-new furniture, fresh paint, new carpet, and updated signage to help patrons find their way around the library. Our new Circulation Desk is centrally located directly across from the entrance, so library staff are in the perfect spot to greet patrons as they enter the library and help them find what they need.
Z: How many years have you run [Love Your Local Artist] and what is it?
LM: This year will be the ninth annual Love Your Local Artist (LYLA) event...It’s a fundraiser hosted in conjunction with the Friends of the Library that combines local art and live music. It’s an after-hours event with wine, refreshments, live music, a silent auction, and tons of local art. We think it’s a great way to give a platform for artists to share what they’ve been working on and to sell their work, and also to support the library, all while providing a nice evening for the community.
Z: How many artists are scheduled to appear?
LM: We typically have around 30 local artists appear at the event. Some of the artists have participated since the very first LYLA and keep coming back because it’s such a lovely evening. We always have new artists join us as well. Ingeborg von Agassiz, a versatile Duluthian, will make an appearance at the event. She came on the scene in 2016 and is known for her quirky animated videos featuring her music, also a producer and a visual artist.
Z: What kind of art is being appreciated for this event?
LM: We typically have pottery, painting, wood burning, photography, fabric art, jewelry, paper art, recycled art, and more. One of our artists is a retired forester named John Thompson, who creates these incredible wooden trees from different types of wood. Another artist is Heike McDonald, and she makes marionettes, scarves, and unique artwork out of recycled clock parts. We have a fantastic variety every year. It’s amazing to peruse the tables and experience the talent and creativity of our community.
Z: Is there a cost for this event?
LM: It is totally free. Donations are gratefully accepted.
Z: Is there anything else you want the public to know?
LM: We’re excited to show off our renovated space. If it’s been a while since they’ve been to the library, we encourage them to stop by and see all of the changes.