By Jen Bakken
DELANO, MN The Delano Public Library not only strives to promote literacy, but serves as a community gathering place.
Offering countless programs, the library is fun and educational for all ages. From new toddler and teen programing, to classes and exhibits there is something for everyone,
On its shelves are an amazing 32,173 items that can be checked out, not only books, but DVD’s, CD’s and magazines as well. And if the library doesn’t have just what you want they will find it for you.
There are now seven internet stations with fast connections, a popular item for area residents.
“We are a very busy place,” said branch manager Carol Plocher. “We are the fifth busiest out of 32 libraries. I like what I do; it’s the best job in the world, I just love it.”
Plocher has been with the Delano Public Library for 17 years, serving the past 14 years as branch manager. She admits there have been many changes over the years.
Plocher is also grateful to organizations such as the Delano Friends of the Library and the Delano Loretto United Way, that have made much of the library’s programming possible
“I remember when we didn’t have Internet,” she said, “and we were still stamping cards, we have grown so much over the years in so many ways.”
The library is proud of its relationship with area schools as well. Students can not only check out Accelerated Reader books, but take the AR tests at the library, enabling them to earn prizes at school.
In July, the library circulated 17,171 items, a 10 percent increase from last year and many attribute the library’s success to Plocher.
“She takes part in the community, not just the library,” said Harlan Lewis, a member of the Friends of the Delano Library. “She’s initiated so many programs and adds such a personal feeling when you are there.”
The Delano Library was originally organized by area citizens, and opened Nov. 11, 1939 in the old Brown Pharmacy building, offering only 80 books.
At the time, the library was only open to its 25 members, with membership costing $1, and its initial goal was to become a public library.
Under the guidance of the Crow River Federated Woman’s Club, in 1972, a fundraising drive began to help with the restoration project of the fire hall, now known as the Historical Society.
The library moved there in 1974, and this was the library’s home until it moved to its present location at 160 Railroad Ave. in 2004.
The move to the old State Bank of Delano building was spearheaded by area citizens and the Delano Friends of the Library, who raised money to make the library as it is today.
Certainly, those who began the library in 1939, would be proud of what it has become today.
The library has been operated by the Great River Regional Library (GRRL) system for 40 years, and the operational decisions for the library are made by a board of trustees.
These trustees are appointed by each county and recently, the board has been considering restructuring the branch librarian position.
The board is looking at several proposals, including a plan that would allow some branches to keep their branch librarians while other branch librarian positions would be consolidated.
In all proposals, the Delano branch manager position is eliminated. The Delano Friends of the Library think eliminating the branch manager position in Delano will be detrimental to the operation of the library.
With this in mind, the group, along with other concerned citizens, have organized a “Letter a Day” campaign to inform the GRRL Board of Trustees of the importance of the branch librarian in Delano.
“We are having residents send an e-mail a day,” said Mary Ann Bernat from the Delano Friends of the Library. “So far, we have people signed up through Oct. 18. Trying to keep a branch manager in Delano is important, and many people and organizations are getting involved.”
If you are interested in participating in this campaign or would like more information, e-mail email@example.com, or contact Mary Ann Bernat at (763) 972-6274.