Wednesday, April 2, 2014

227. Delavan, MN

This library was the purpose of today's trip. I learned from the Small and Rural Libraries Round Table on Facebook that this tiny town, population about 200, had just opened its own library. The library is open only on Tuesdays, and I usually volunteer at a local school on Tuesdays, so Spring Break for the St. Paul schools gave me my chance. And it was an interesting experience.

The library, in a former bank building, was easy to find. I had been told that it would be open from 10 to 2, and I got there at about 11:15. The door was unlocked, so I went in. The place had an empty feel, and I saw a notice on a bulletin board with different hours. Hmmm. Since it was open, I decided to give myself a tour. The big feature, of course, is an enormous stainless steel door to a safe. There is a glassed-in corner office, a conference room, and a small children's room in the rear. I enjoyed this room for a few minutes, noting the attractive collection of books, a round table with four chairs, and the Put Me in the Zoo book with a matching spotted stuffed animal.

Then I went to the conference room, where a man was working on a laptop, and asked whether the library was open or not. Well, the librarian was not there, but she lets him stay and use the Wi-Fi. I'm glad she does, because he was a very  helpful guide. I learned that the corner office belongs to the Town Clerk, and the conference room is used for Town Council meetings. The big safe is used for storage of special materials. The American Legion uses the tables in the front for their morning coffee hour, and the small safe in the rear is used to store their ceremonial rifles. When the branch bank closed last Fall, the bank deeded the building to the town, and now they are clearly finding many ways to use it.

And the library? Well, in addition to the children's area, there are two public computers, a small collection of books, and a librarian's desk in the center of the space.

Some people say libraries are, or soon will be, unnecessary. Small  town libraries like this give me confidence that they will be with us for a long time.

If the Delavan librarian reads this, I'm sorry I missed you. Perhaps you will comment with information about whether Delavan shares books with other nearby libraries, and so forth. Please?

For pictures from the grand opening, go here:

4/1/2014, car

The sign is hard to read here; it says Delavan City Center Library.
That's my new car in the foreground!


  1. What a fabulous use of a space by so many! I, of course, was intrigued by the safe used for special materials. What do you think they stored in it?

  2. Thank you so much for visiting our little library! I am one of the volunteers at the Delavan Library; I wish I had been there to greet you. In fact, you just missed our morning volunteer--who also happens to be our mayor (he was filling in for his wife that morning.) I was glad one of our patrons (and city councilmen) was there to tell you about all of the uses for our new building.
    Until recently, the library was located in our town's "Community Room," but since other activities also take place there, the library materials were kept in locked cupboards, opened only on library days. We are so happy to have our own space now in the new city building, especially since we now have space for a kids' room. We are having so much fun decorating that room, to make it a fun place for children to visit.
    We have a small permanent collection, and we also have a rotating collection that Muir Library in Winnebago shares with us. Each week, new materials are delivered, and materials that have been here for 2 months are rotated out and returned to Winnebago. It certainly keeps our collection fresh, and we also use interlibrary loans. Our attendance and circulation numbers have only been increasing over the last few years, thanks to dedicated volunteers, a strong desire to provide interesting materials, and especially our new location. Thank you again for visiting, we hope you will stop again if you are in the area.
    Rachel Petersen
    volunteer librarian at the Delavan Library
    p.s. The safe is used to store city documents--nothing too interesting, unfortunately!

    1. Thanks for your comment note, Rachel. I'm sorry that I missed you, and that I missed the mayor...but I'm glad a councilman was there to show me around. Perhaps more than any other library I've visited, Delavan certainly puts the "town" in Town Library!
      I was pretty sure that city documents were in the safe, but a couple of us were having fun speculating about other possibilities.
      If I'm in the neighborhood...during the right hours...on a Tuesday...I will certainly visit again.


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