Champlin Library History
In 1913 Vinnette Lincoln, Charlotte Joslin Trusell, Inah Gates Stout, Bessie Evans Kimball and Frances Lincoln Lane met and decided to create a library and reading room for young people in Champlin. These women organized the Champlin Woman’s Club to support the library. Thirty women became members. They opened the library in a small rented room. It was open on Saturday afternoons and evenings. Mrs. S. R. Coleman was the first librarian.
In 1921 the Woman’s Club leaders obtained a “16 foot by 16 foot frame cottage” from the Standard Oil Company. This cottage became the new library.
In 1922, the library became a branch of the Hennepin County Library System. Inah Gates Stout became the new librarian. Then, because a feed mill was to be built on the library site, the Woman’s Club purchased two lots at the intersection of Dayton Road and Oak St. (now Curtis Road). The small library was moved to the 100 foot by 100 foot plot. In 1933, Gertrude Leathers became the new librarian.
In 1939, “an addition totaling 16’ by 32’ and costing approximately $700.00 was completed.” Miss Ethel Barry, county library director, and Miss Gratia Countryman, librarian emeritus of Minneapolis, were present at the the dedication. Bessie Kimball gave a brief history of the library, ending with “This summer we decided to take what money we had and make our building the best we could with that amount and enjoy it while we were living. And this is the result. May it stand as a monument ot our efforts and an inspiration to the future generation, that if they want anything, to go get it.”
When Gertrude Leathers became ill in 1952, her daughter, Ruth Stephens, began to work as the librarian. Gertrude Leathers retired in 1956. Ruth Stephens continued her work as library assistant/librarian until she retired in 1986.
During the 1950’s the building was described in a Hennepin County “Branch Library Survey.” The author stated that “the library itself is white with green shutters surrounded by a large well kept lawn and several shade trees. The interior of the bungalow type cottage has been completely redecorated. From the newly painted white ceiling, green walls, and newly tiled floor; to the modern blonde bookcases, tables, and chairs, the atmosphere is one of spacious quietness.”
In 1972, the library building was moved to Missisippi Point Park at Highway 169 and West River Road. Library service continued at this site while a new building was being built on the original Dayton Road and Curtis Road site. The new building opened on January 22, 1973 and was dedicated on April 23, 1973. Librarian Ruth Stephens, Hennepin County Library Director Robert Rohlf, Champlin Mayor Josephine Nunn and others spoke at the dedication. The new “Champlin Reading Center” at 230 Curtis Road was 1600 square feet with a dark cedar exterior. Construction costs were $40,266. The site was leased from the Champlin Woman’s Club. The architecture was designed by the Hennepin County Department of Buildings and Grounds. The library was expanded to 2,300 square feet in 1981. During expansion construction, “library service was conducted from a 1956 Bookmobile.” In 1986 Melissa Sibley became the librarian.
The new library opened on September 6, 1994 and the dedication took place on October 16, 1994.