Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 30, 2005

Libraries celebrating anniversaries: Howard Lake 100th, Winsted 30th

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

A vision of growth and culture for Howard Lake began with 20 women and a reading room, and is now celebrating a century of service and dedication to the residents of Howard Lake and surrounding communities.

The pioneering ladies of the Howard Lake library organized in March 1905, donning the name “The Library and Improvement Association.”

Getting started

The ladies set up a reading room in the villiage council rooms, in what was then the new city hall.

“I just thought it was a very necessary thing. We were able to accomplish quite a few things that didn’t take very many funds,” said Harriet Zander, once a member of the association.

Drawing on donations for books and furnishings, the ladies developed a cozy spot in the community where people could read, while enjoying a view of the lake.

Their early efforts have evolved into the current “Friends of the Library” club, which, not unlike its predecessor’s, dedicated to making sure the library can continue to meet the needs of the community.

“We’re echoing what the original group did with improvement. We’re trying to work on a greater vision,” Sue Claessen, a member of the Friends of the Library club, said.

Future expansion

Building on a proud past, with visions of the future, the Friends of the Library club looks to carry the library into its next century of service.

New projects for the library include landscaping to provide an area for reading outside the building and for kids to gather during the summer months.

This project is scheduled to be completed in time for Good Neighbor Days at the end of June, and will be put to use immediately as the library celebrates its 100 years of service.

The current library club’s vision also includes leaving the possibility open for building in the future.

Acting as a liaison between the city council and the library, the club lobbied on behalf of the library to make sure there was room to add on to the existing library building when necessary.

The city owns the corner lot to the north of the library on Highway 12.

“We’re really happy the council was receptive to not selling the lot, and understanding how important the library is to this community,” Claessen said.

The library is working to expand the children’s area and add more furniture and a play area.

An additional quiet room for studying and tutoring sessions is also a priority.

Serving the youth

The library continues to sponsor a story hour for children in the community to come and listen to their favorite tales being read by a storyteller.

The library also participates in the Great River Regional Library’s summer reading program.

Typically, between 100 to 125 area children participate in the reading program at the Howard Lake library each summer. However, the library has had to do a little tweaking to the program through the years.

Librarian Barbara Peterson discovered the library might have to increase the number of books read in the program, thanks to an eager area youngster.

“He was here almost all day, and read about 60 books,” Peterson said. “I think, over a two-day period, he read around 140.”

The library now offers “library bucks,” or points, for reading additional books.

Celebrating the good times

The library has a lot to celebrate, starting with immense growth from its humble beginnings in the village council rooms, in the old city hall.

The original inventory of 80 donated books has developed into more than 14,000 items today.

Since joining the Great River Regional Library system in 1970, patrons now have access to 900,000- plus materials, across 32 libraries.

“No one is ever confined to what is behind these walls, they can select from throughout the Great River Regional System,” Peterson said.

A birthday party, complete with cookies, old-fashioned kids’ games, and a giant birthday card, will kick off the celebration in the newly landscaped area outside the library Friday, June 24.

Above the library, in the community room, the library will host its second annual book sale, with a barbecue lunch and pies, Saturday, June 25.

More festivities include a special pictorial cancellation and a float in the Good Neighbor Days parade, Sunday, June 26.

The pictorial cancellation will be conducted in the Howard Lake Post Office.

“People can come with a stamped envelope and get it postmarked with the 100 years emblem and take it home as a keepsake,” Peterson said.

A commemorative quilt is also being worked on. Families or people in the community can buy a square of the quilt to put their names on, or another message or design.

Spaces will also be reserved on the quilt for commemorating things throughout the community.

The finished quilt will be hung in the library in remembrance of the event.

Winsted - 30 years

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Imagine going to the library to discover that it has been transported to another town, and won’t be back for another two weeks.

This was the reality for people in the community of Winsted before the city opened the Winsted Public Library 30 years ago, Dec. 1, 1975.

For one year, beginning Jan. 7, 1975, the Crow River Regional Library bookmobile made its stop at the Winsted City Hall every other Tuesday. The van was full of books to be checked out by eager patrons.

Time for a change

“I remember the bookmobile was only here for, like, 45 minutes, you had to make sure you got there and got your book,” Winsted librarian Sharon Noerenberg said.

On its first stop in Winsted, 800 books were checked out, and approximately 100 people registered for library cards. Not everyone who wanted to register was able, because there wasn’t enough time. This was the town’s only library.

But several determined people, including JoAnn Sneer, felt the people of Winsted deserved their own library, one that didn’t roll away.

Their persistence paid off, and the Winsted Public Library is currently celebrating 30 years of service.

The board

A member of the Pioneerland Library system, the Winsted library is the result of the dedicated work of many people over the years, including the library board.

“We’re very lucky to have such a great library board, they really do a lot of work for us,” Noerenberg said.

Current board members include Lisa Ebert, Julie Guggemos, Kim Hausladen, Karen Salo, and Irene Weinbeck.

“I enjoy being part of the board, helping with fund raising and giving back to the community,” Hausladen said.

The board sponsors an annual garage sale day and the silent auction during Winsted Winter Festival days.

More than half of the money raised during the auction is given to area schools to be used in their accelerated reading programs.

“It’s for the kids,” Noerenberg said. “It’s a pretty generous check, but that generosity comes right back around from parents donating to the auction.”

Growing pains

It has been a matter of working on a budget for the library, which has had some help throughout the years to reach where it is today. The library’s first location was just down the street, in what is now Duran’s Photography.

The building was too small for the library, but for a long time, there was nowhere else to go.

Two years ago, space finally opened up across the street, giving the library the opportunity for a more suitable space.

“Our council has been very good to us. They found us this new building,” Noerenberg said.

But even before they could move into their new building, another problem presented itself. What were they going to use for furniture?

Noerenberg checked the library’s e-mail after being down for four days during the move. She was shocked to find a library in Shakopee was ordering new furniture and giving away old furniture.

Thinking they had already gotten rid of it, Noerenberg called. Fortunately, the furniture was still available, and the city offered to take a truck and go pick it up.

The furniture included the current check out desk, chairs, and steel tables.

The library board then attended an auction in Chaska for library furniture, and received several items, including desks and shelves for the bargain price of one dollar each.

Ready and waiting

Fully furnished and under budget, the library continues to offer its services to the public.

“The most impressive thing is having story time for the children,” Noerenberg said.

Noerenberg recalls one story time that didn’t go quite as planned.

The book chosen for story time was a new one. It appeared to talk about a little boy and his love for his dog. Only when it had been read in front of the children was it discovered it actually was a book about how to cope with the death of your pet.

Needless to say, many of the children expressed their feelings about the pets that they had lost.

Although that day ended in tears, it is the exception. The library offers crafts for the kids in June, and also hosts a summer reading program.

Free Internet is available, along with the use of a fax and copying machine, for a small fee. The Internet can be especially helpful for those in the area that don’t have access at home, Noerenberg said.

Seminars are also offered free to the public in varying areas. Gerard Stifter recently presented a meeting on how to start a family researching project.

The library holds birth and death certificates from the township’s records, dating back to 1871, and has helped many people with this project.

Keeping it up

So far, the library has celebrated its anniversary in the same way it started, by offering its services to the public.

In April, the library hosted a special reading of The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, after which the children were able to take home their own seed and a copy of the book.

A photography class was also hosted by award-winning photographer Petie Littfen in honor of the library’s anniversary.

A birthday cake made of candy was given to the children in May. An open house is also an option in the future.

The library has come a long way in its 30 years, finding a solid foundation from a van on wheels.

“When I first came here, about 10 years ago, I was just excited Winsted had a library,” Hausladen said.

This was no small feat for the library’s founders and supporters throughout the years, but one they are proud of.

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