Morning Meanderings… A Look At A Historical Library

Good morning from my hotel room in ST Paul Minneapolis.  I was so wiped out last night I was in bed by 8:30 pm…. I couldn’t be on line, I couldn’t read…. but I could sleep 😀


We are finishing up today our second session of the Literacy Institute program I am involved in.  This afternoon we will head back home and I am excited for a little quieter week this week and College Son will be home for Thanksgiving. 

Yesterday when we arrived in St Paul we were a little early so our local Librarian Jolene and I walked down to check out the St Paul Library.  Such a massive building compared to our one level all in one are library at home. 


From their website I found this:

The Saint Paul Public Library traces its earliest beginnings to 1856 when the newly formed Young Men’s Christian Association opened a reading room. The following year, both the Saint Paul Library Association and the Mercantile Library Association also were organized. These early efforts all merged in 1863 into the Saint Paul Library Association.

In 1879, under the leadership of Alexander Ramsey (who had served as Mayor, Governor, U.S. Senator, and U.S. Secretary of War), the Library Association proposed that the City accept responsibility for their collections and establish it as a free public library. Finally, on September 7, 1882, the city council approved an appropriation of $5,000 to establish the Saint Paul Public Library. By this date, the collection had grown to include 8,051 books.

In the following years, the Library grew rapidly. As early as 1890, there were calls for the construction of a new building. Instead, in 1900, the Library moved to the old Market Hall, located on Seventh Street. Many civic leaders continued to push for the construction of a new building, but the Library remained in the Market Hall until a tragic fire in 1915 destroyed the entire building, including the Library and most of its collection of 158,000 books. Fortunately, construction of the new Central Library was already underway.


I should have taken more pics but here is what I have:


The St Paul Library

Some of the ceiling

Their books in a bag program

The library is very spacious the complete opposite of where we are at with the Brainerd Library which is so full and nowhere to go with more!  In Brainerd if I were to go in and get a book or browse I could be in and out in 10 to 15 minutes.  In St Paul I think you have made a much bigger commitment.  YA is on one floor while several floors up you will find fiction.  Even higher up you will find a room dedicated to magazines dating back to the 1970’s!  Some of these magazines I had never heard of! 

It really was something to see.  Friends of The St Paul Library is a HUGE group of highly motivated people who have huge ideas.  We have been hearing from them frequently throughout this program we are in and they really have my ideas flowing of what we can do with Brainerd. 

Thanks Alyce from At Home With Books for hosting Saturday Snapshot so we can share the pictures of our lives. 

Ok I need to get ready for the breakfast meeting.  See you all… back in Brainerd,

29 thoughts on “Morning Meanderings… A Look At A Historical Library

  1. I love libraries….my earliest and fondest memories are of an old library that shared quarters with the post office in the village near where we lived. Since then, of course, there have been many kinds of libraries. In our city, we have a spacious and old downtown library, which I haven’t visited in a long while. Now I think I must! But I do love the new (and also spacious) branch near my neighborhood.

    Thanks for the story and the facts.


    1. OOH book club in a bag is a program where 10 copies (paperback) of the same book are available for check out at the same time by one person. This is great for reading groups and wonderful tiles to choose from.

  2. That is a really nice looking space, it reminds me of the feel I recall of the old Plaza branch of the Kansas City library when I was growing up, it was only two floors with the “kids” downstairs but it was a true library, for research and all not just a place to come and grab a book.

    Man, I hadn’t thought about that library in years. Lots of good memories there, thanks for jogging my memory.

  3. What a beautiful building, and so spacious. Where I grew up the library was in the Literary Institute, downstairs there was a hall with a stage, and the books were all upstairs – on two floors I seem to remember. Originally the library part was ‘reading rooms’. My Snapshot is at

  4. Thanks for the library tour Shelia. Looks like a lovely place to spend some time.

    Sorry I haven’t been able to comment much as I’ve really been busy and sadly putting minimal effort into blogging. Hope you are enjoying your day.

  5. I have been in that library a couple of times. An abolutely fabulous building filled with a treasure of books and such!

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