Friday, March 27, 2015

314. Mountain Iron Public Library, Mountain Iron, MN

Mountain Iron was  actually my reason for making this "collecting" trip. I'd never been here before, but I've been seeing pictures and reading about their programs for months; I almost feel that I know some of the kids!

No kids were there when I visited. In fact, I was early, a half hour before opening, but the librarian graciously welcomed me and gave me the tour. This is a Carnegie library, and one in nearly original condition. It's hard to fault ADA for requiring accessibility, and I think the elevator has been inserted in an unobtrusive way. Though I'm sure that "old timers" found the addition jarring for a while.

The library has a bit of everything: children's and adults' books of all the usual types, tables and chairs, new books and "staff picks," which I'm told are a magnet for a lot of patrons, and of course the ubiquitous DVDs. The rectangular tables in the kids area are the ones I've seen in the pictures of story time programs, one for the craft activity and one for snacks. The round table in the adult area, I was told, hosts a lively TOPS group, among others.

I learned that youngsters in town are more into sports than reading, except during the summer reading program with its prizes. Hey, kids, think about it: if (and I hope this doesn't happen) you maybe sprain an ankle, it would be good to already know your favorite authors and types of books. Get on over to the library and at least do some sampling.

Many Carnegie libraries have now been razed or repurposed, and that was nearly the fate here. I learned, however, that the "build new or renovate the old" decision was decided by the vote of a single library board member. In addition to the mandated elevator, the lower level has been refreshed and now houses a very popular meeting room. I'd be willing to bet it has prompted some "what did we do before we had this?" moments.

The library has a special treasure that I didn't see, a collection of scrapbooks about town history as well as school yearbooks back to the 30s. There is another treasure in the person of Sally, the librarian, who is also an author, writing for the local paper. Her column on page 16 of the March 20, 2015, edition is a hoot. We're both on the same page when it comes to gardening, right down to the raspberries. The difference is that while I maintain the raspberries, nobody maintains anything else at my house. The cats are no help at all.

For more about this library, go to or visit them on Facebook at

I believe this is the first miner in the area, though the sign is illegible.

Carnegie to the core!

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