Please take a moment to let us know how you feel by taking this short survey – thank you. Lake Elmo Library Survey
An Abbreviated History of Libraries in Lake Elmo.
The Public Library in Lake Elmo has had a “hit or miss” history during the past 50 years. While the cities of Stillwater and Bayport have had longstanding libraries that pre-date the county library system, it wasn’t until 1967 when Washington County created a regional system to benefit other cities, villages, and townships in the elongated county. Library offices and the first book collection were located on opposite sides of Lake Elmo Ave., near the geographical center of the County. Later the library offices were moved to larger quarters outside of the City, and the local book collection was moved to different rental space north of the Post Office where it remained until 2003. Then, with little notice, the library was shuttered. For the next 3 years, there was no library in Lake Elmo.
Under pressure by the local taxpayers, a local branch was again opened in 2006, in its third location — this time as the Rosalie Wahl Branch Library. Many residents attended the dedication and greeted the first female Supreme Court Justice and a long time City resident. It was a day to celebrate that faded quickly.
As cities in Washington County were subject to uneven growing pains, the County decided to close the Rosalie Wahl Branch permanently after 5 years and re-allocate the dedicated library tax collected on Lake Elmo properties to maintain and improve other County libraries. This time the City and residents did not accept the County’s decision immediately and created a Library Board with local funding re-directed from the County Library System to a new Lake Elmo Public Library. After less than a year in a temporary location, the volunteers re-opened a vacant 7,000 s.f. building purchased at a fire sale price of $240,000. The Council has continued to fund the library budget in an amount similar to what would have gone to support the County Library System. This amount has been more than sufficient for the Board to rapidly pay off the building purchase loan and to implement a staged renovation plan for the library. Even with these one time expenses at the beginning, the Board was able to create a collection of over 20,000 books, DVD’s and audio books, which is more than double the collection maintained by the County when it closed the Rosalie Wahl Branch. The staff and volunteers have tried to create an unmatched experience for residents. An emphasis has been place on early childhood learning with help from the Elks Club of Stillwater, the Bank of Lake Elmo, and contributions from Gorman’s, xxxx, xxxx, and xxxx. In addition, there have been ongoing author visits, talks on many topics, movies, tai chi, and many other activities that have been developed by interested residents.
The Lake Elmo Public Library is now in its 5th year. It is an appropriate time for the Board to take the pulse of residents’ interests and concerns about the future of our library, and consider unmet needs. To gather information, the Board is holding a Special Meeting on May 3, at 6:30 PM and sending a survey to every post office address in the City for comments. The survey is also available at <lakeelmopubliclibrary.org> and at the Library Circulation Desk. Participants may provide their names and addresses, or not, as they prefer.
With the advice and consent of our residents, the Board hopes to continually improve access to valued library services. Following the State Statutes governing libraries, the Board may also “consider sharing part of (the City library tax levy) to the (County) library system fund, to be used to increase or improve public library services in the city,” or turn the library over to the County system as a branch. knowing that the county might close the branch in as little as 4 years and again re-direct all our library tax base to support the county system. The details of this possibility are in a proposed resolution elsewhere on the City website.
The next chapter for Lake Elmo is an open book. Help us write it.
The weather is finally changing for the better, the sun is shining, and there’s poetry in the air. It’s time to appreciate all that spring has to offer by reading, writing, and enjoying poetry. We will be posting various poems, for all ages, throughout the library during April. Please come and wander around reading the poems or check out a book on poetry. We will have some on display by the circulation desk beginning April 7th.
Be sure to check out our online eBooks and audiobooks via OverDrive.
- We finally have a nice smooth sidewalk that comes up to the front door without a step or ramp. We can thank Washington County, Nate and, Steve DeLapp for accomplishing this. We are still planning to do some kind of landscape or planters to soften the front, but it is a vast improvement.
- Further plans are for an improved parking lot. No decisions have been made beyond this. There may be plans for the rest of the library in the future, but feedback from patrons advises us to keep the cozy rooms that make this library unique.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
Our after school program, Youth Makerspace, is up and running. The program is for ages 10-16 and runs from 3:30-5:30 every Tuesday (there are exceptions so check the calendar or call before you come in). Every week we will be working on a different project – it might be Arts related or S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) related depending on the week. What you make is yours to take home! Please join us for learning, creating, and having fun :).
Here is what we are doing in April: Tuesday, the 4th – DIY Flower Vase, Tuesday, the eleventh – Homemade caramels, Tuesday, the eighteenth – Color Changing Flowers Science experiment, Tuesday, the twenty-fifth – Funfetti Candles.
The Friends meet every month on the second Thursday at 3 pm at the library. Everyone is welcome to come to meetings, no need to be a member.