Friday, November 7, 2014

295. Aitkin, MN -- East Central Region, ECRL

A day without school or work, with a sunny sky--time for a trip to visit a few libraries! I planned a reasonable trip around Mille Lacs Lake that would allow me to complete my visits to the branches of the East Central Regional Libraries.

My first stop brought me a pleasant surprise: the Aitkin library, with a newly-opened addition that just about doubled its size. Three posters with pictures of the new construction and the moving-in process were displayed in the central reading area. One poster said, "Thank you to the many organizations, businesses, individuals and volunteers that helped this community dream come true." That statement says a lot about the importance of a library to a community.

I was a bit surprised that this "living room" reading area included a sink and a set of kitchen cabinets, until I learned from staff that this area used to be the meeting room. The new meeting room, much larger, is at the other end of the building, and was busy with Friends of the Library starting to set up tables for this weekend's book sale.

I've come to expect grandfather clocks in New England libraries and quilts here in the Midwest. Aitkin surprised me: a grandfather clock, but not a quilt in sight.

The wooden shelves are handsome, and two study tables in a windowed alcove near the non-fiction collection look ready for students.

The children's area is set off by a series of bright circles in the otherwise neutral carpeting, and it features a circular alcove with window seats ready for their cushions (which are not there yet). A family restroom is located conveniently nearby.

Aitkin's original library was a 1911 Carnegie. The building is now an Art Center. Regrettably, I did not spot the building while I was in town, but you may be able to see it at the second link below. An entryway holds a display cabinet of memorabilia from the Carnegie library, including photographs, hand-written record books, and documents. As in other places, books were moved to the new building in a "bucket brigade" effort that I'm sure is remembered by many members of the community.

Congratulations to Aitkin on the 20th anniversary of the "new" and now expanded building, which was dedicated on November 12, 1994.

For more about this library, go to or


Yes, there was a bit of snow!

This is the display of Carnegie memorabilia.

The former meeting room is now a cheerful browsing/reading area.

My first library job included putting newspapers onto sticks.
This is a particularly large and handsome display rack for the rods.

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