Item Coversheet

Board Action Request

Item Description:
Authorize the renaming of the Hennepin County Southeast Library to the Arvonne Fraser Library - offered by Commissioner McLaughlin

WHEREAS, Ms. Arvonne Fraser was a leader in women’s rights, a long-time activist in elevating women’s influence on public policy-making, and a passionate advocate for public libraries; and


WHEREAS, Ms. Fraser maintained her independence as a leader and educator while raising a family and supporting her husband, Donald Fraser, in his career in the Minnesota State Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and as the Mayor of Minneapolis; and


WHEREAS, a fierce proponent of women’s rights, Ms. Fraser immersed herself in the emerging feminist movement in the 1970s; and


WHEREAS, throughout the years, Ms. Fraser founded the Women’s Equity Action League, served as the director of the Office of Women in Development at the U.S. Agency for International Development, as the U.S.representative to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; and at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute (now School), directed the International Women’s Rights Action Watch and cofounded the school’s Center on Women and Public Policy; and


WHEREAS, Ms. Fraser was the recipient of many awards and recognitions including an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Macalester College, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the University of Minnesota, and the Prominent Women in International Law, Women’s Interest Group from the American Society of International Law (becoming the first non-lawyer to receive this award); and


WHEREAS, Ms. Fraser and her husband Don celebrated the lives of two of their daughters by creating the Anne and Lois Fraser Memorial Fund that helps the Hennepin County Library expand its children’s collection as well expanding art, music, and literature; and


WHEREAS, while Ms. Fraser was chair of the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library she worked tirelessly to raise money for additional library hours, and when merger discussions started between the Hennepin County Library System and the Minneapolis Library Board, she exerted her influence to ensure a smooth transition that would help increase the number of hours Minneapolis libraries would be open; and


WHEREAS, once the Minneapolis libraries were folded into the Hennepin County Library system the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library disbanded, only to be replaced by the Friends of the Minneapolis Central Library, a group that Arvonne Fraser joined and served with through 2017, helping to raise money, update bylaws, and volunteering at library events; and


WHEREAS, Ms. Fraser and her husband, Don, were long-time residents of Southeast Minneapolis and her belief in the value of libraries was famous to her neighbors, sometimes showing itself by her taking neighborhood children on their first trip to the Minneapolis Central Library; and


WHEREAS, before her passing, Ms. Fraser was actively engaged in the public discussions for the planned rehabilitation of the Hennepin County Library–Southeast; and


WHEREAS, Ms. Fraser died on August 7, 2018, leaving a legacy of championing women’s rights, defending her strong belief in public service, and demonstrating a longstanding love of and commitment to public libraries; therefore


BE IT RESOLVED, that in recognition of the significant contributions that Arvonne Fraser made to our community, across our country and to the world, that, upon its reopening, the Hennepin County Library–Southeast be named Hennepin County Library–Arvonne Fraser.