Photo courtesy of: Verna Pitts
A city-owned library is quite rare and ours is the pride and joy of Stillwater. It was established by referendum in 1897 and housed in rental quarters, seventy years before Minnesota law required collaboration between counties to provide its citizens with access to regional libraries.
The Stillwater Public Library Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization at the end of 2007. Its mission is to expand the reach and impact of the Stillwater Public Library by engaging the community and its resources. Through events and fundraising campaigns, the Foundation helps fund projects that enhance materials, program enrichment, and service enhancements.
The Foundation is one organization in a web of alliances that has as its aim the provision of the best possible library service to the Stillwater community. The most significant source of support is the City of Stillwater, the funding authority for the library. The City levies property taxes, which provide 90% of the library’s operating budget.
The library also receives important help from Friends of the Stillwater Public Library. Friends of the Stillwater Public Library is a membership organization that conducts two significant book sales each year to support library collections. Friends also volunteer their time and talent to help the library undertake special programs and projects.
The Stillwater Public Library has a contractual relationship with the Washington County Library for the exchange and provision of services. The libraries have a joint catalog and honor each other’s borrowers’ cards. Through WCL, the Stillwater Public Library benefits from our regional library system, MELSA – the Metropolitan Area Service Agency. In addition to reciprocal borrowing throughout the metropolitan area, MELSA administers state Legacy funds and supports library resources and programming.