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St. Paul's James J. Hill Center to close to the public next month

The library has been open for nearly 100 years.

After almost a century in central St. Paul, the James J. Hill Center will close to the public as of next month.

Having originally opened as the James J. Hill Reference Library in 1921, the nonprofit that runs the center overlooking Rice Park has struggled to remain a draw in recent years.

In a statement on its website, the center said it has done what it could to increase its programs in recent years, but is now finding it has to make changes.

It will close to the public on July 3.

"As a privately funded nonprofit, our ability to provide these services to the public for free is not sustainable," the center said on its website.

"We continue to be challenged to develop a financial model that can deliver the original intent while being fiscally responsible for the ongoing operating costs of the organization and necessary capital investments in the historic structure."

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After the closure, the center's board and executive team will look at options for the  future.

The Pioneer Press notes that the center changed its name to the James J. Hill Center in 2013, shedding the "Reference Library" in an effort to show its wider array of services.

The newspaper notes that nonprofit "relies heavily" on endowment funding.

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