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Recent News
6/2/2011
EXHIBIT, PERFORMANCE, RECEPTION CELEBRATE ‘125 YEARS OF LIBRARY SERVICE IN HENNEPIN COUNTY’
Whether delivered a century ago by a Model-T “book truck” or today by high-speed Internet, public library service in Hennepin County has played an essential role in creating a literate and informed citizenry in this region. You can explore this fascinating history at a free exhibit, “For Use: 125 Years of Library Service in Hennepin County,” on display beginning Thursday, June 30 in Cargill Hall at Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis. 
 
A grand opening program, which includes a performance by a Minnesota Historical Society history player, will begin at 7 p.m. on June 30 in Pohlad Hall at Minneapolis Central Library and will be followed by a reception at 7:40 p.m.
 
The exhibit, program, and reception are free and open to the public. The exhibit is funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The program and reception are sponsored by the Library Foundation of Hennepin County.
 
Following opening remarks by Stu Wilson, executive director of the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, the grand opening program — “The Past, Present and Future of Libraries” — will feature a dramatic performance by a Minnesota Historical Society history player portraying Gratia Countryman, library director from 1904 to 1936. Current Hennepin County Library Director Lois Langer Thompson will give brief remarks welcoming all to the reception and exhibit.
 
“The exhibit is a celebration of public library service in Hennepin County and illustrates how the library has remained true to its mission while evolving and transforming over time to meet community needs and stay in the forefront of technological advances,” Thompson said. 
 
Important early dates include 1885, when the state legislature approved an amendment to the Minneapolis city charter to create the Minneapolis Public Library; 1886, when ground was broken for Minneapolis Central Library; and 1922, when Hennepin County Library service outside the city of Minneapolis began as the result of a tax levy on property outside the city.
 
Exhibit goers will learn about revered librarian Gratia Countryman, who was zealous about library service to residents of the city of Minneapolis as well as “rural” Hennepin County. “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,” Countryman said in the early 20th century.
 
Hennepin County Library’s recently-adopted mission to “nourish minds, transform lives, and build community together” has been its underlying philosophy since library service began more than a century ago, apparent in the exhibit’s depiction of how readers, children, families, new immigrants, and the business community have relied on library services through the years.
 
Exhibit visitors will see how technology has expanded the community’s access to the library collection and will continue to be a key factor in library service in the years ahead.
 
Visitors will also learn how strong support from the community, including thousands of library volunteers, the Library Foundation of Hennepin County, and the Friends of the Library, has facilitated the Library’s growth.
 
Book stations located in general stores; construction of beautiful Carnegie libraries; an REO Speedwagon; suburban expansion; audio-visual items such as vinyl records, 8- and 16-millimeter films and 8-track tapes; book catalogs in the 1970s; microfiche catalogs in the 1980s; and countless other improvements to library service all paved the way for today’s automated, 21st-century landmark libraries.

Today, Hennepin County Library offers 5 million books, CDs, and DVDs in 40 languages, 135 databases, and 1700 public computers. Last year, an estimated 5.8 million people visited Hennepin County’s 41, national award-winning libraries, more than 17.5 million items were checked out, and there were almost 20 million visits to the Library’s website, www.hclib.org
 
For more information about the exhibit, the program, or the opening reception, please contact librarian Johannah Genett, 612-543-8639 or jrgenett@hclib.org

UPDATE, 6/16/2011:

The “For Use:  125 Years of Library Service in Hennepin County” exhibit is scheduled to run June 30-Sept. 30. 
 
Exhibit hours are the same as Central Library’s:
 
M, W, F, Sa:  10 a.m.-6 p.m.
T, Th:  10 a.m.-8 p.m.  (except Thurs., June 30:  exhibit opens at 6:30 p.m. in Cargill Hall.  Opening program is at 7 p.m. in Pohlad Hall)
Su:  noon-5 p.m.

6/2/2011


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