Saturday, August 15, 2015

356. Dyckman Public Library, Sleepy Eye, MN

When I set out on a day trip to visit a cluster of libraries, there's often a centerpiece...a library I've heard about in some way, that I want to visit, and around which I create a little itinerary. For my August 14 trip, Sleepy Eye was that centerpiece. First, the town name intrigued me. (Sleepy Eye was a Sioux Indian Chief, and there's an old map on the wall of the library that shows/tells about the Sioux uprising in the county.)

I had also heard that the library was having a craft/book/bake sale on the 14th and 15th, to start raising funds for next year's summer reading program. So, I thought I'd take a look. [I left with two books for Halloween giveaways, four excellent peanut butter oatmeal cookies, no crafts.]

The library comprises two buildings, the original which was funded, along with the land, by Frances Dyckman, a local banker, and a newer addition. When I visited it appeared that the Dyckman building is being used for an on-going book sale and the newer building serves as the library. Though there is a sign on an elevator-device for access to the upper level of the older building, something about if your stroller doesn't fit, please leave it downstairs--so it seems likely that story time is in the old building? I'm making this up, since it didn't come up in conversation.

Speaking of conversation, the librarian, who says he arrived in November to replace a long-term librarian, told me that this is "the only Dyckman Library in the country." [Or maybe the world, but I think he said or implied the country.] I enjoyed talking to him, partly because his library training included some history, so I could mention practices from my early library days, like using a wood-burning pen to put call numbers on book spines with special transfer tape, and at least he knew what I was talking about. [Yes, I do sometimes seem to be the ghost of libraries past.]

OK, what's here? Well, the adults have four computers plus one for the catalog, and a couple of wing chairs next to the coffee maker. The book and media collection seems to include some of everything, fiction, non-fiction, graphics, romance, sci-fi and fantasy. A glass-front bookcase holds books about local history.

Teens have a space near a bow window with a wooden window seat and a round table; it looks like a decent place for hanging out.

Kids are exhorted to "Get Carried Away With Books." Their area has beanbag chairs and easy chairs, an alphabet rug, three brightly-colored tables with chairs, and, like the adults, "a bit of everything," including books in Spanish and some kid-sized life jackets that can be checked out.

I always watch for interesting signs, and my favorite here is next to the button that opens the accessible door: "Think Green: Don't use the power doors unless you need them." YES!

By the way, if you are in the area you really should visit the upper level of the Dyckman building to see the incredible fireplace...I wish I had a picture. There is also a case of books that are from the original collection that started the library.

For more about this library, go here: or here: (use left-right arrows to scroll through the branches) or especially here:

8/14/2015, car

Linus is from Sleepy Eye. The guy Linus is based on grew up in Sleepy Eye and was good friends with Charles Schlutz.


  1. The new librarian started in November not February and the library is very different from before he started.

  2. The starting date for the librarian has been amended; the blogger regrets the error (as the big guys say). I'm not surprised to hear that the library has changed in the last 9 months, with new leadership after almost three decades! Care to share some of the changes, jediblender?


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