Dakota County Library
|Dakota County Public Library System|
|Location||Dakota County, MN
|Access and use|
The Dakota County Library system is a regional public library system in Dakota County, Minnesota, headquartered in the Wescott Library in Eagan. The system includes 9 branch libraries and shares borrowing privileges with the City of South St. Paul public library. It is a member of MELSA (the Metropolitan Library Service Association), a consortium of eight Minnesota library systems.
History of the Dakota County Library System
The Dakota County Library System as it exists today is a combination of several smaller library systems. The earliest of these were the Farmington, Minnesota library, established in 1871 and the Hastings, Minnesota library, established in 1873. Both were established as subscription libraries, and were relatively short-lived projects, although they paved the way for municipally funded libraries in the early 20th century . The City of South St. Paul, Minnesota Library was established in 1916. It initially received a $10,000 grant from the Carnegie Foundation, but development of the library was halted due to the outbreak of World War I. In 1926, the library received municipal bond funding in the amount of $25,000 for the establishment of a library building, which opened in August 1927, as the first public library in Dakota County.
Era of growth
Bolstered by the post-World War II influx to suburban areas as well as the passage of the 1956 Congressional Library Services Act, libraries in Dakota County were ready to expand. To maximize resources, the county entered into a partnership with its neighbor to the west, Scott County and in 1959, the Dakota-Scott Regional Library System was formed. Originally operated out of 2 classrooms in a Savage elementary school with 9 people on staff, the system quickly expanded, with the Farmington and Hastings libraries joining by the end of the year. Bu 1968, the system had opened a new library in Hastings, acquired a 6,000 book capacity bookmobile, purchased land off of County Road 42 in Burnsville, Minnesota for a new branch location and was using a storefront location in Burnsville as a temporary library to help alleviate demand on the other outlets. However, throughout this time, Dakota and Scott County had been growing apart from one another - both in terms of population growth and in their vision for the library's future. As a result, the assets of the collection were divided proportionately to county population and by December 31, 1968, the two-county system was dissolved.
Creation of the Dakota County Library System
The Dakota County Library System was born on January 1, 1969. The early years were a time of cooperation and technological change. The system joined MELSA (The Metropolitan Library Service Association) in 1970  and entered into a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the City of South St. Paul library  in 1975.
In 1971, the library made available for check out the first computer-created book catalog in Minnesota. Technological innovations continued with the opening of the Burnhaven library in 1974, which included record and cassette listening terminals. By the beginning of the 1980s, the Dakota County Library System had over 200,000 books and 175,000 patrons, and was entering a period of steady growth. 1981 saw the opening of the Wescott Library in Eagan, Minnesota, which has housed the system's administrative headquarters since its opening. Wescott was followed by the Galaxie Library in Apple Valley in 1990 and the Wentworth Library in West St. Paul in 1992. The Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings was built after a 1993 fire in the previous building caused 1 million USD in damage - including the destruction of an estimated 73,000 books. In 1995, a new "special service library" was opened in Farmington. Inver Glen Library in Inver Grove Heights and the Heritage Library in Lakeville both opened in 2000. The 9th library branch in Rosemount, Minnesota is the Robert Trail Library, which is housed in a 23,000-square-foot (2,100 m2) facility and had approximately 45,000 volumes in its collection at its opening.
Dakota County Library today
Dakota County Library branches
The Dakota County Library System is made up of 9 branch locations, the 9th branch recently opened in Rosemount, Minnesota in early 2009. Bookmobile service was discontinued in December 2010. The administrative headquarters are located in Eagan, Minnesota.
Branch locations include
- Robert Trail Library in Rosemount, current building opened in 2009
- Burnhaven Library in Burnsville, opened in 1974; was home to the system's bookmobile until bookmobile service was discontinued in 2010.
- Farmington Library in Farmington, current building opened in 1995.
- Galaxie Library in Apple Valley, opened in 1990.
- Heritage Library in Lakeville, opened in 2000.
- Inver Glen Library in Inver Grove Heights, opened in 2000.
- Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings, current building opened in 1994 to replace building that burned down in 1993.
- City of South St. Paul Library in South St. Paul, established in 1922, entered into reciprocal borrowing agreement with Dakota county in 1975.
- Wentworth Library in West St. Paul, current building opened in 1992 to replace old West St. Paul Library.
- Wescott Library in Eagan, opened in 1983, the year it replaced Burnhaven as the location of the system's administrative headquarters
- The Dakota County Library system serves an estimated 388,001 county residents, 80% of whom currently live within three miles (5 km) of a county library (the opening of the Robert Trail library in 2009 increased this number to 85%).
- 2005 total system expenditures equaled $10,466,735, or $31.30 per resident that year.
- The system's collection contains 919,077 books - 2.75 books per resident. The collection also contains 32,288 videos and 45,017 audio materials.
- System circulation and visits per capita is among the highest in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Region:
|Number of||Hennepin County Library||Minneapolis Public Library||Dakota County Library|
|Visits per capita||7.22||8.21||9.498|
|Total circulation per capita||18.06||7.00||11.16|
- "Departments." County of Dakota. Retrieved on October 3, 2010. "Library Administration & Support Services Administrative Offices Wescott Library 1340 Wescott Rd Eagan MN 55123-1029"
- "Library Administration & Support Services." County of Dakota. Retrieved on October 3, 2010. "Library Administration & Support Services Ken Behringer, Director Wescott Library 1340 Wescott Rd Eagan MN 55123-1029."