The Saint Paul
Public Library is a library system serving the residents of Saint Paul, Minnesota
, in the United States
. The library system includes a Central Library, twelve branch locations, and a bookmobile.The Saint Paul Public Library traces its beginnings to 1856 when the newly formed Young Men's Christian Association opened a reading room.
The following year, both the Saint Paul Library Association and the Mercantile Library Association also were organized. These early efforts all merged in 1863 into the Saint Paul Library Association.In 1879, under the leadership of Alexander Ramsey
, the Library Association proposed that the City accept responsibility for their collections and establish it as a free public library.
Finally, on September 7, 1882, the city council approved an appropriation of $5,000 to establish the Saint Paul Public Library. By this date, the collection had grown to include 8,051 books.The Central Library opened in 1917. In that same year, three Carnegie library branches opened Arlington Hills Library
, Riverview Branch Library, and Saint Anthony Park. All four buildings are still in operation as libraries. The Central Library has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1975.
The library started an extension division in the 1920s provided books for various public schools in Ramsey County
outside of Saint Paul. This division became the Ramsey County Library in 1951.Expansion of the Saint Paul Public Library continued in 1930, when the Hamline and Merriam Park branch libraries opened. Both branches were made possible by a bequest from the estate of Henry Hale.