USDA Rural Development officials joined members of the Leech Lake Tribal College today to celebrate the grand opening of a new $2.7 million library.
“Community libraries provide access to essential services such as the use of computers, high speed internet, free book rental, and much more,” said Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development State Director, of the project. “Solid infrastructure and modern facilities play a key role in the economic sustainability of rural communities – attracting new businesses, retaining population and providing opportunities for future growth.”
Once the new facility opens to the public all 1,500 Cass Lake and Leech Lake community members will be able to access its services free of charge. The new library features brand new equipment, including 56 computers, multiple iPad stations, a smart classroom that seats up to 15 students, and cultural archival room showcasing the history and culture of the Leech Lake Band. Additionally, over 300 students, faculty, and staff of the Leech Lake Tribal College will benefit from use of the smart classroom.
In addition to the $185,000 in Tribal College Equipment Grants through USDA for smart board equipment, 45 computers, 4 printers, electronic door access and cameras, furniture and workstations, funds for the $2.7 million project were leveraged with funds from over 14 partners – each contributing $8,000 or more – to complete the project. Over the past 15 years, USDA Rural Development has invested over $2.3 million in Leech Lake Tribal College community facilities and equipment.
Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, businesses, renewable energy and broadband - investing more than $5.8 billion in rural and tribal communities throughout Minnesota since 2009.