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February 20: Minot Carnegie Library Celebrates Anniversary

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In February 1912, the city of Minot celebrated the new library in town. After funds were secured with money from the New York philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, construction quickly followed. Carnegie offered $15,000 for the construction, with additional money from the Minot Women’s Literary Club for furniture and decorations.

A beautiful building was built. Focal points were a fireplace and a copy of a famous painting, “Hope,” by the Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones. The opening celebration took place on February 19 and included speeches by the head of the library board and city council. Several musical performances entertained, and punch was served to end the evening.

At the time of opening, the Minot Public Library had a bright future. The library already had more than 3,000 borrowers, the third highest in the state! 60% of the library books were fiction, and its collections also included 47 different magazines. The building’s construction and furnishings were praised, and it was described as well-lit, with the books easy to reach, and plenty of tables and easy chairs.

On this date in 1932, twenty years later, the library celebrated its growth. One of the librarians, Catherine McSherry, believed that the library had never served as many people as it did then. Unemployment, due to the great depression, was undoubtedly a factor in bringing in large numbers, with many unemployed persons using the library to study. The library had seen an increase in borrowers with up to 9,700 people using the library regularly. A grand total of 173,361 books had circulated in the previous year.

Though the purpose of the library has changed since its opening, and undoubtedly has changed more since the 20th anniversary, the Minot Public Library still stands as a popular place for Minot residents.

Dakota Datebook by Ashley Thronson


Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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