Tag Archives: St Paul Public Library

Thanking those who were the soul of this Carnegie Library

A collection of good books, with a soul to it in the shape of a librarian, becomes a vitalized power among the impulses by which the world goes on to improvement. Justin Winsor

Putting a soul in any building is a worthy challenge.   In the words of founders of the East Side Freedom Library it is “librarians who brought life and commitment to our historic building.”

And it is those librarians who will be celebrated on Tuesday, August 8, 7:00 p.m. at the ESFL as appreciative community members gather remember and “to honor the women and men who have worked in this building.”

The celebration is part of the ESFL celebration of the centennial of the historic Carnegie Library building, once the home of the Arlington Hills Library.  Read more about the history and evolution of the Carnegie Library here:  https://marytreacy.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/east-side-freedom-library-gives-new-life-to-carnegie-library-st-paul-neighborhood/

There will be a short program, refreshments and a reunion of library supporters, neighbors, bibliophiles, library lovers and history buffs.  The evening is free and open to all.

The East Side Freedom Library is at 1105 Greenbrier Street, St Paul.  Info@eastsidefreedomlibirary.org   651 230 3294.



East Side Freedom Library Gives New Life to Carnegie Library & St. Paul Neighborhood

NOTE: Librarian has-been that I am, I regret to admit that I had not followed the creation of the East Side Freedom Library with the attention it richly deserves. Perennial information-sharer that I hope to remain, my intent here is to share some of the story of this community work-in-progress. ESFL thrives as a living legacy that breathes life into the stories of a neighborhood always in flux and of the people who have long shaped — and continue to enhance — this vibrant community.

Browsing a Friends of the Library book sale a few years ago, I picked up a copy of Twelve Branches: A collection of stories gathered from the dozen branches of the St. Paul Public Library published several years ago Friends of SPPL. I was reminded of that little tome when I learned recently of the reincarnation of the Arlington Hills Library on St. Paul’s East Side. It made me think about the subtle presence – the stories, experiences, spirit of a neighborhood that lingers within a library building. The stories survive, even when the bricks and mortar structure that once thrived as a public library is deemed a Digital Age Dinosaur.

The venerable Arlington Hills Branch was a Carnegie Library, constructed in 1918, located to serve the ever-changing flow of immigrant workers who continue to settle – and stay – on St. Paul’s East Side. Library patrons have always been new Americans.   Once they were-Post World War I immigrants from Europe, the immigrants who built the churches and schools, worked on the railroad, and labored in the industries that thrived on the East Side “back in the day. Today’s residents are a mix of immigrant newcomers from Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Central America, poor people seeking jobs and a place to rear their families. (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/building/st-pauls-east-side/)

Once abandoned, the stately Arlington Hills Library building has risen Phoenix-like to preserve and share the stories of the neighbors and the neighborhood – stories that echo in the once-lonely structure while they reflect the ever-evolving vitality of the community.

The Carnegie building now houses the East Side Freedom Library, once a dream, now a reality. ESFL reflects the vision of labor historian Peter Rachleff, his wife theater artist Beth Cleary, and a host of determined colleagues including Macalester and East Side residents.

Readily evident in the library’s fledgling collection are the stories of organized labor, much culled from the personal collection of founder Rachleff. There’s more, however, including selection by and about African American History, especially works by and about W.E.B. DuBois, co-founder of the NAACP, and a mix of fiction and non-fiction that capture the lives of working people, stories of the East Side community. Soon to find their place on ESFL shelves are the Hmong Archives (http://hmongarchives.org), a collection of books and materials that capture the history and lives of the East Side’s more recent residents.

The ESFL also boasts a robust agenda of public programming that draws neighbors to the emerging community gathering place. Rachleff estimates that ESFL hosts public events six days a week. Neighbors gather to explore ideas ranging from this week’s discussion of the papal encyclicals of Pope Francis (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/conversation-on-the-papal-encyclical-on-climate-crisis-july-29/) to next week’s documentary on Minnesota’s best known architectural feature (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org/event/who-built-our-capitol/)

The impressive story of the resurrection and evolution of the library building is told by those far better informed and more articulate than this blogger. My intent is to highlight – and link to – the stories that others have recorded, just in case the reader has somehow missed (as I did) this bit of history unfolding in our own time.

  • The first link is to the East Side Free Library’s impressive website which shares the stories of the library’s evolution and of the East Side community itself.   (http://eastsidefreedomlibrary.org



Library card art? Check it out at St Paul Public Library!

Some folks want to see their name in lights. For others, it’s the yen to see their name in print. And then there are the few, the chosen, whose creative apex is to see their art carried with pride in the handbag, wallet or pocket of every resident of St Paul.

For those visual artists who recognize and value the coin of the literary realm, there’s the St. Paul Public Library Card Contest!

It’s open to artists of all ages who live, work and/or go to school in the City of Saints.

All forms of two-dimensional art will be accepted. Deadline September 5,http://www.sppl.org/artcontest

Five winners will be chosen. Their artwork will appear on the new library cards, and they will have their choice of a $100 gift card from either Micawber’s Books or Cossetta’s Italian Market and Pizzeria.

All of the details are on the art contest website: http://www.sppl.org/artcontest or pick up the application at any SPPL location.

Fill out the application form, provide your art on the second page, and turn in artwork and application to a SPPL staff person at any library location, or

Email your artwork and completed application to sppl.cds@gmail.com. You can use the second page of the application or attach a separate file with your artwork.

Contest Rules and Information

Selection of the winning entrants will be at the discretion of the library judging panel. Winner’s name may be posted online or otherwise used in publicity materials.

Art (drawings, prints, photos, graphics, etc.) must be original creations and not infringe on copyright law.

An artist may submit more than one design.

The artist must live, work, or attend school in Saint Paul.

Artwork may be created in the space provided on the form or on an attached sheet of paper, or scanned and emailed to 
sppl.cds@gmail.com. You can also submit artwork in person at any Saint Paul Public Library.

File types and sizes: To be considered, artwork must have a minimum resolution of 300 dpi. Formats accepted include Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator (CS5 or lower), EPS, PDF, JPG, and TIF. Format size should not exceed 4 MB.

Artwork will be reduced to 2.125″ high by 2″ wide to fit on the front of standard library cards (credit card size) and will be reduced to 1.125″ high by 1.5″ wide for the key ring library cards.

Winners’ names will appear on the back of the library cards; winning artwork will be displayed at SPPL locations and in the Saint Paul Art Crawl October 10-12.

Winners will be selected and contacted in mid-September and will be publicly announced September 19.

See more at: http://www.sppl.org/artcontest#sthash.YdPExxu4.dpuf