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Shoreview Library staff reminisce as they move into new building
As the Shoreview Library opens to an unread page — with an upcoming shift to its new building — a chapter is closing.
According to branch library manager Carol Jackson, staff members are looking forward to the benefits of being in the newly constructed building, which is near the old one, but staff are also looking back nostalgically at their time spent in the current 1990s-era facility.
The library closed at the end of the day, Nov. 23. Amid countless moving chores and arrangement projects, the Bulletin asked staff to reminisce about their time at 4570 Victoria St. N..
Angie Miller, children’s librarian, can reflect back on 13 years of working at the library, but one memory that sticks out is how first-grade classes from Snail Lake Elementary and Island Lake Elementary would visit the Shoreview Library each fall.
“In addition to a short storytime and checking out books, each class got to tour the downstairs of the library,” Miller says. “The highlight for everyone was seeing the inside of the book drop.”
Often, she explains, a staff member would be stationed outside to drop in books to the delight of the students.
“Even now, much older students still tell me that is what they remember most about their library tour.”
Linda Larson has been a page at the library for 12 years and says her favorite memories of the current building are ones where groups of children would simply be gathered around the tree in the atrium, “all reading intently.”
Charles Mosner, a librarian who’s worked at the Shoreview branch for two years says, “If you’ve ever walked past the front exterior of the Shoreview Library, you’ve probably noticed a large recess adjacent to the building.”
He says that in that space, periodically, children would hang around on a railing and lose various objects out of their pockets that they couldn’t retrieve.
“Without any access to this pit, a treasure trove of lost items gradually accumulated, from water bottles to library cards,” Mosner says. “Eventually, at the earnest request of a patron who was not ready to part with their beloved library card, the staff designed ‘fishing poles’ to retrieve these lost objects.”
He says it took a few prototypes before staff “hit on the simplest and most effective tool: an extendable tape measure with some sticky book tape on one end.”
Lynnette Pound, a 23-year Shoreview Library clerk, says she has always enjoyed how many people would walk into the library for the first time and proclaim their awe at “the beautiful, slatted wood ceiling.”
“I also fondly remember Eilenne Boder, a Shoreview library manager, singing ‘Happy Trails’ to patrons to let them know the library was closing.”
There are several staff members in the Ramsey County Library system who have memories of the Shoreview building.
Therese Sonnek, branch manager at the White Bear Lake Library, has spent 23 years working in the Ramsey County Library system, including the Shoreview branch.
“We had new and exciting local author Vince Flynn coming to speak,” she says. “We rearranged all of the furniture to make room and tons of people arrived eager to hear him speak.”
But she says the start time for the event came and went, and Flynn, a popular political thriller novelist who lived in the Twin Cities area and later died of cancer in 2013 at the age of 47, was nowhere to be seen.
“We received a call from him letting us know he was running late on his drive from the Stillwater area,” Sonnet says, remembering that he arrived about 20 minutes late. “I found out later the reason he was late: he was caught speeding on the way!”
Howard Morris, a librarian in Roseville, has 23 years of experience in the Ramsey County Library system.
He says that his favorite memory of the Shoreview Library is actually his first memory of working there — or, more accurately, interviewing for the job.
He remembers the biting cold on Feb. 22, 1993, as he made his way to the building for the job interview. Being used to winters in the state of Washington, he says it was hard to bear that day’s frigid temperatures.
But when he entered the building, he says he was met warmly by Anne Fitch, who was the branch manager at the time.
“She put me at ease as we strolled through the quiet book stacks that morning,” he says. “The building still had a new smell to it.”
At that time, he explains, Shoreview was one of four libraries going through a construction phase — Roseville, Maplewood and Mounds View were the others.
He was offered the job later the same day, and he remembers being comforted that in Minnesota, “where February snowstorms are a regular occurrence, warm and cozy libraries like Shoreview encouraged people to read books on chilly winter days.”
Staff are currently setting up the interior of the new library building and fundraising for it as well.
The grand opening of the new building, at 4560 Victoria St. N. — right next door to the old one — is set for Jan. 28, 2017.
The old building was sold to Mounds View Public Schools for $3.4 million and will be used for the district’s administrative offices.
While Ramsey County is funding the building’s construction, volunteers on a Capital Campaign Committee are working with the Friends of the Ramsey County Libraries to raise $250,000 through tax-deductible donations to add some additional resources and special touches, including “museum-quality educational equipment for children, interactive technology for teens and adults, additions to the lending collection, exterior furnishings, a media lab, art and other amenities,” according to a statement.
Those interested in helping, can make tax-deductible donations online by clicking on the blue “Donate” button at the top of page at http://www.rclfriends.org and selecting horeview or your credit card donation. Checks can be mailed to riends of RCL t 4570 Victoria Street North, Shoreview, MN 55126 — horeview Library hould be included on the memo line.
Jesse Poole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 651-748-7815. Follow him at twitter.com/JPooleNews.