Happy National Library Week 2021!

To celebrate National Library Week, we would like to tell you a little bit about a local library.  Not ours – I’m sure you know quite a bit about the services we offer.  The library you should know about is the George Latimer Central Library, located just one block west of the courthouse.

The George Latimer Central Library (“Library”) is the main branch of the St. Paul Public Library system.  It has over 350,000 books and other materials.  The Library was established in 1882 with a collection of over 8000 books.  In 1900, the library moved to a space on 7th Street, but community initiative and an unfortunate fire in 1915 spurred on construction for a new library. 

The building’s architect was Electus Litchfield, a prominent New York architect who is also known for designing the Masonic Temple in Brooklyn and Bellevue Hospital in New York.  The cost for building the new library, including the research library named after notable railroad baron and philanthropist James J. Hill, cost $1.5 million dollars.  The building was completed in 1917 and has been there, across the street from Rice Park, ever since.

In 2014, the library was renamed the George Latimer Central Library, honoring a former mayor of St. Paul.  Mr. Latimer was born in Schenectady, New York and was a graduate of Columbia Law School.  He came to St. Paul in 1963 and practiced law until 1976 when he was elected mayor.  Mr. Latimer served as mayor from 1976-1990, and later served on the Library Board of Trustees from 1998-2012, and as chair from 2008-2012.  In May 2014, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman announced the renaming of the library, which was received with much enthusiasm.  As Kit Hadley, the former Director of the St. Paul Public Library said,

We are honored to have Mayor Latimer’s name placed on Central Library.  All of Saint Paul has benefitted from his tireless work, from education to affordable housing to helping those in need. There is no more fitting name for this library given Mayor Latimer’s work with the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library and the fact that libraries are active centers for community engagement.

Happy National Library Week everyone! 

 

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