Minnesota Public Libraries

Subdivided in the autumn of 2011 from the Carnegie libraries of Minnesota.

 Blue Earth

Blue Earth, MN library Blue Earth, MN library

Part of the Traverse des Sioux Library System: the featured building may or may not be standing today.

(L)Monochrome card; unknown maker. I believe the manufacturer is the same as the firm that produced the gaudily tinted cards found for Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
(R)1905 card by E. Floe.


Cloquet, MN library

I assume that the library is the left building, and that the flag is in front of the post office.

Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art' postcard, mailed 1938.


City Hall and Public Library, Faribault, Minn. Buckham Library, Faribault, Minn.

(L) It's unclear from the card caption whether the building in the foreground housed both functions, or if the library was housed in the building in the background of this German import.
(R) Buckham Library is still in use. This E.C. Kropp card has a goofy, somewhat obvious caption:

This is a Public Library, built by Mrs Buckham. and donated to the City, but called the Buckham Library.

No Kropp, Sherlock.

 International Falls

Library in R inset

Still in use.

This 1948 Curt Teich linen finish card is a close cousin to the large letter postcards of the era. Some Teich motel postcards are also stylistically similar. The library is in the right inset, and is vaguely Deco in design.
The rest of the card features a view down a railroad bridge.

 Le Sueur

Le Sueur, MN library

Dated 1939 by the original collector.

The Carpenter Gothic wood building has a sign designating it as the Mayo Home. Mercifully, the library has moved on to more appropriate quarters, and the Mayo Home has gone back to being a monument.

I hope they treat for termites.


Minneapolis library Minneapolis library

In use 1889 - 1961.

Not intended to be a loafing place for tramps to read dime novels.

--Thomas Hale Williams, about the Athenaeum (1877), quoted in Minneapolis Observer Quarterly.

Minneapolis library

Formerly, there was a full (and funny) history on the Minneapolis Observer site, who in turn cited The Library Book: Centennial History of the Minneapolis Public Library, by Bruce Weir Benidt (1984), Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center: Minneapolis.

No, those are not solar panels on the left-hand picture. Minnesota wasn't that progressive a hundred years ago.

Minneapolis library Minneapolis library

Now incorporated into the renowned Hennepin County Library System.

(L) From the reverse of the Plastichrome card by Colourpicture Publishers of Boston 30, Mass.:

This magnificent gold trimmed Public Library, serving as headquarters for Hennepin County and Minneapolis libraries, is located in the Gateway Development Area, 300 Nicollet Avenue. The structure is made of granite, Italian marble and anodized aluminum. The library, geared for the comfort of its visitors, features smoking lounges and open shelves, invites browsing and casual research. The library also features a planetarium where regular shows are presented.

(R) From the reverse of the Mirro-Krome card by H.S Crocker, of Minneapolis 23, Minn.:

The new gold and granite Minneapolis Public Library, headquarters for both Minneapolis and Hennepin County Libraries, is located in the Gateway Development Area, 300 Nicollet Avenue.
Vivid colors, light and space combine with glass, Italian marble, teakwood and anodyzed aluminum in this modern library. Smoking lounges and open shelves invite the visitor to browse and wander.
A blacklight hall of time and space and a planetarium, where regular shows are given, are unique features of the library.


Owatonna, MN library

Still in use, with a branch - Blooming Prairie Branch Library.


The library situation of this city is rather hard to fathom. Their web site is not helping me.

'Library Building, Rochester, Minn.'

A Rochester, MN library A Rochester, MN library

(L) Post-1907 card mailed 1911. This building clearly dates from prior to the turn of the century. Since much of the city was destroyed by a tornado in 1883, I'd presume the building is newer. However, it looks like it could have withstood a F3 or so.
The maple trees appear to be 2 - 3 years old.
(R) Bloom Bros. card has several pedestrians, including a paperboy loafing against the side of the building. Oddly, the retouching makes the library look like it occupies lakefront property.

'Public Library and Y.M.C.A, Rochester, Minn.'

Rochester, MN library and YMCA bldg.

Bloom Bros. Co. 'Scenic America' postcard with evenly divided back. The trees are slightly larger than in the first picture. The mens' fashions look to be from the 1910s.
This was the first card of the bunch that I purchased. I needed the one above to tell the YMCA from the library.

'Public Library, Rochester, Minn.'

Another Rochester, MN library Yet another Rochester, MN library

The RPPC is clearly from the forties, whereas the linen finish card appears to date from the 1930s. It was mailed in 1948. The limestone building closely resembles that of 1930s Highland Park, IL.

The picture on the library website is definitely not that of this building. It appears to date from the 1950s or 1960s. They sure replace things fast up there!

'Mayo Library, Rochester, Minn.'

Mayo Library, Rochester, MN

Probably part of the hospital complex, but whether as a medical library, or as a service to patients, I do not know. It really looks like a Georgian public library.

The gardens are well-tended, which would be good therapy for either gardener or visitor.

 St. Paul

St. Paul, MN library St. Paul, MN library

Built during the Great War. Electus Litchfield was its architect.
Unlike Minneapolis, St. Paul seems to replace libraries only when absolutely necessary. Looks like a 1915 fire was the only good enough reason.

(L) R. Steinman card, published in St. Paul.
(R) Card caption:
New Saint Paul Public Library and the L.J. Hill Reference Library, Saint Paul, Minn.

 Sleepy Eye (Dyckman Free Library)

Dyckman Free Library

I'd like to think my great-great-grandfather spent his last years enjoying this building.


Winona, MN library

Built in 1899.
It may look like a Carnegie library, but it's not. The card, with an unevenly divided back, was mailed in 1911.

Still in use. It's on the National Register of Historic Places. Look near the bottom of the linked page.


Drop that mouse and visit your public library. (Or, if you're viewing this in the library, set the mouse down carefully.) All the following resources were found at a local library.

Bial, Raymond and Linda LaPuma. 1991. The Carnegie Library in Illinois.
(With Photography by Raymond Bial.)
Bobinski, George S. 1969. Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development.
Dickson, Paul. 1986. The Library in America: A Celebration in Words and Pictures.
Frye, Lonn. 1992. Carnegie Libraries: Restoration and Expansion.
Krass, Peter. 2002. Carnegie.
Van Slyck, Abigail. 1995. Free to All: Carnegie Libraries and the American Culture, 1890-1920.

© 2007 - 2011 Judy Aulik
Uploaded 17 August 2007.
Updated September 2011.