Happy anniversary, Hennepin County Libraries

What I like about the Hennepin County Library:

  • First of all, the library staff have responded to my suggestion, which makes me feel pretty good. :)
  • The Central Library in downtown Minneapolis is open seven days a week.  I wish more locations were open on Sundays and Mondays, but I’m quite grateful that there is one I can count on for my Sunday and Monday reading needs.
  • Speaking of the Central Library, it really is a cool building.  There is even a children’s book about the construction of the new library that came out in 2006.   You can get a free tour of the library on weekends.  I have yet to do this myself.  If anyone wants to take the tour sometime, let me know so I can join you. :)
  • The Central Library celebrates Minnesota’s rich literary history in its auditorium.  Each of the chairs in the auditorium has a name of a Minnesota author on it.  I, of course, love this connection to the community.
  • I’ve been to several cool events at the library in the past couple of years, such as the screening of a documentary about children’s books, and a celebration of Minnesota libraries.  In addition to the various storytimes I’ve attended with my little one.
  • An actor plays Gratia Countryman in an old library building at a local arts festival in 2010.

    Perhaps the coolest reason to like HC Lib is its history.  Gratia Countryman, in particular, is a notable figure in Minneapolis history as the first female director of the Minneapolis Public Library and the founder of the Hennepin County Library.  She was a strong advocate for women’s rights, and she was active in various organizations in the Twin Cities.   If you have an opportunity to catch a performance by a Minnesota Historical Society player, do it. Ms. Countryman is a fascinating historical figure that deserves wider name recognition.

Read more about Ms. Countryman and local library history in this brochure or visit the Central Library during the months of July, August, and September to view the exhibit on display in Cargill Hall, For Use: 125 Years of Library Service in Hennepin County.

I recently attended the opening celebration of the exhibit, which featured commentary from library figures about the nature of public service in Hennepin County (particularly in light of the current government shutdown) and the future of libraries in Hennepin County.  The exhibit will be open the same hours as the Central Library, so you can view it seven days a week through September 30th.

Explore how Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library have worked together to achieve the vision of Gratia Countryman, who said,

“The public library is an institution so pliable that it bends to every growing need of community life; so susceptible to social needs, so eager to render all possible service, that it must by virtue of its own nature reach out beyond the city borders.”

How has your public library responded to community needs?  How do you wish it would respond?

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