PUBLIC LIBRARY

In January 1913, we find an ordinance passed by the Village Council authorizing the establishment of a public library and reading rooms, to be maintained by the Village. The President of the Village Council was to appoint nine directors, and the directors were to set the rules for the safekeeping and handling of all library materials. The first directors were appointed on January 10, 1913:

E.H. Hazen
L.F. McDonald
Louis M. Larson
Irene Bates
E.S. Hatch
George F. Mosely
Mattie Waddell
Charles Hamilton
Walter Thomas

In August 1913, more than 2,000 people attended a village-wide carnival where almost $400 was raised to buy books. At first the library was located in the Brick Block.

In 1914 the library merged with the high school library, located on the second floor of the new high school, which was built that year on Walker Street. That year, Mrs. T.B. Walker donated funds to purchase 450 volumes for the new library. She had made a similar donation previously.

The Village Council generally gave the library an appropriation of $100-$300 every year.

 

Ethel Baston joined the Library Board in 1918.

Alice Johnson, a member of one of the first graduating classes from the Park, was the Village librarian for over 20 years until she retired in 1947.  She died on August 6, 1950.

In 1950 librarian Esther Johnson and the Library Club started a system of checking out books, at the behest of the student council.  Before that, students were on the honor system, and books were flying out the door but not finding their way back in.  Books on auto mechanics were the most popular. 

In 1952 the library in 1914 Central building was moved into the new east addition. 

In 1956 the library had 2,800 books, half new that year.  Lillian Forest was another librarian.

The library remained in the high school until 1960, when the school told the city that it needed the space. At the time the library was only open to students.

On November 17, 1960, the library – newly designated as a branch of the Hennepin County Library System – moved back to the Brick Block, this time to the east wing of the new Masonic Lodge at 6509 Walker Street. Helen Young was the director, replacing Dena L. Liljenfors, who retired. Agnes Schepper was librarian. The new space allowed all 12,000 books to be available, as opposed to the 4,000 at the Central site. Rent was $705/month for a 10 year lease. Ms. Young came before the City Council in February 1960 to lobby for a municipal library building, supported by the Women’s Club.

The current library was dedicated on Sunday, April 21, 1968. Participants at the ceremony included the Park High band and Senator Walter Mondale. Miss Helen McNulty was listed as St. Louis Park Librarian in the program. The building’s original address was 3240 Louisiana Ave. So., later to be redesignated as 3240 Library Lane. The architecture company was G.C. Smiley and Associates, and the architects were Mas Matsumato (on the Planning Commission in 1967) and Wayne Norgren. The General Contractor was Lund-Martin Co. and the (proposed) price was $172,885.

In 1968, the building was sold to Hennepin County.