Tuesday, January 5, 2016

379. Hayfield Minnesota Public Library

Hayfield Public Library is not one-of-a-kind, but it is unusual. This community library is open 22 hours a week, every day but Sunday, staffed entirely by a dedicated group of five volunteers--and it's been this way since 1993! The town of Hayfield pays their rent and utilities and a tech fund shared with other town services covers two Internet computers and wifi. They provide service to about 900 families.

A once-a-year spaghetti supper (free-will donation) raises about $1500 for materials, and contributions, of materials or cash, are always welcome. An effort is made to acquire newer books, because, I was told, "We don't want to be a library of old books, except for the classics."

What if you want something the library doesn't have? Well, because of its independence you can't turn to inter-library loan, at least not directly. But the high school library may be able to help. And several nearby communities, some as close as 10 miles, belong to South East Libraries Cooperating (SELCO) out of Rochester. Residents of Hayfield can have a SELCO card and use the services of SELCO libraries.

The Hayfield volunteers maintain a good old card catalog, though with authors and titles only--no messing about with subject headings! Books are checked out by stamping the date in the back of the book. There are no overdue fees; the volunteer I spoke to believes that people should have all the time they need to read a book, though she might make a friendly phone call after a few months! [I did mention that I've visited libraries with a "Conscience Jar" in lieu of fines. Exeter, NH, is one example.]

Overall, I'd say the people of Hayfield have quite a treasure here: A labor of love community library, and access to a large regional library system. And as the sign at the library says, "Volunteers are not paid, not because they are not worth it but because they are priceless."

1/4/2016

The Hayfield Library website is at http://www.hayfieldmn.com/index.asp?SEC=BE6C73D8-78EE-4695-9A8F-0518ED45C629&DE=8621C4F6-0C98-4DA6-963D-BC0B8224BB08&Type=B_BASIC



The unpretentious doors to the volunteer-run Hayfield Library

A table in the seating area, made locally of real books with a wood-and-glass top

Many communities have re-purposed the card catalog for seeds, audio cassettes, or simply decoration. In Hayfield, it's exactly what it looks like: an active, up-to-date card catalog.

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