East Lake Library

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East Lake Library is one of 15 branch libraries formerly in the Minneapolis Public Library System and now one of 41 branch libraries in the Hennepin County Library System in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. Three different buildings have housed the library since 1924.[1]

First East Lake[edit]

East Lake Branch Library
Old East Lake Branch Library.jpg
The first East Lake Branch Library, now a store
East Lake Library is located in Minnesota
East Lake Library
East Lake Library is located in the US
East Lake Library
Location2916 East Lake Street
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Coordinates44°56′56″N 93°13′44″W / 44.94889°N 93.22889°W / 44.94889; -93.22889Coordinates: 44°56′56″N 93°13′44″W / 44.94889°N 93.22889°W / 44.94889; -93.22889
ArchitectJerome Paul Jackson, Splady & Hagonson
Architectural styleTudor Revival
NRHP reference #00000542[2]
Added to NRHPMay 26, 2000

The first East Lake Community Library opened in February 1924, between the Hosmer Community Library and Roosevelt Community Library, which is modeled closely after East Lake.[3] Situated on Lake Street, it featured simple architecture and a skylight. Because of its appearance, seemingly like a storefront, the library was called a 'Reading Factory'.[3] East Lake was one of the last libraries built in a library 'building boom' that Minneapolis experienced starting in 1905 and ending in 1937.[4]

The first East Lake remained until the mid-1970s when the need for a new, larger library grew. By 1974 East Lake was circulating 121,459 items and fielding tens of thousands of reference questions.[5] In 1976 the library closed and was reopened as a Montessori day care. In 1987 Northern Sun Merchandising purchased the building and runs it there to this day.[1] In 2000 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 2004–5, 80 solar panels (9.6 kW) were installed on the roof. The original library shelves still circle the walls of the building.

Second East Lake[edit]

East Lake Library, 1976

The second East Lake was built two blocks west of the original library. It had 15,116 square feet (1,404 m2) of space and 30,000 volumes.[3] It also had a 2,390 square feet (222 m2) meeting room.[6] The building was built by the Minnehaha Mall which included a Target and SuperValu store, and helped bring growth to the area.[3] It served patrons of the Longfellow and Phillips neighborhoods well (second in circulation numbers to only Washburn Library), although by around the start of the 21st century, the building was beginning to show wear.[6]

In 1999, a plan called Outlook Twenty Ten outlined some options for the renewal of the library:

Option A[edit]

Option A called for a 6,000 square feet (557 m2) expansion to the building, which was to cost almost $3 million.

Option B[edit]

Option B outlined a 7,000 square feet (650 m2) expansion and the acquisition of neighboring properties. This was to allow greater creative flexibility in the designation of a new library building.[6] It was to cost almost $3 million.

Option C[edit]

Option C simply had the library repaired and slightly renovated. No cost was projected.

Third East Lake[edit]

The third incarnation of East Lake library

None of Outlook Twenty Ten's original suggestions were followed, and on 30 Apr. 2005, the second East Lake was closed to make way for the third building.[4] The newest East Lake was modeled after Minneapolis's Central Library which at the time was also under construction. It featured a glass and metal exterior and was designed by KKE Architects.[1] It was the first green branch library in the MPL system.[7]

The library opened on March 10, 2007. It includes a teen area, a small business/entrepreneurial knoll and fully automated checkout systems.[7] It is located in the same place as the 1976 building, 2727 E. Lake Street.[8]

Community partnerships[edit]

Alliances between East Lake Library and the community include Learning Dreams. Begun as a complement to Homework Hub programming, Learning Dreams grew to include children as well as their parents, supporting them with unique learning opportunities to learn fun and practical knowledge.[9] Programs include computer classes for seniors, provided through a partnership with Minnesota Board on Aging and Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging and job search assistance.[10] Neighborhood Revitalization Program funds provided for a permanent exhibit featuring Longfellow neighborhood history through photographs, articles and books.[11]

Art at the library[edit]

East Lake Library art includes Zoran Mojsilov's 2007 piece Zoomoprhy, presenting large granite rocks held in place by sinuous steel rods. Weighing 26,000 pounds, Zoomorphy is located in the external rain garden.[12] Visitors looking through the library's external windows encounter Janet Lofquist's Pages, featuring etched glass versions of literary excerpts from Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat, Galileo Galilei's work, and Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Hennepin County Library-East Lake". Hennepin County Library System. 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2007-11-04. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ a b c d Benidt, Bruce Weir (1984). The Library Book. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center. ISBN 0-9613716-0-9.
  4. ^ a b "1st East Lake Library". Minneapolis Public Library. 2007.
  5. ^ Dyar, Mary (1974). Minneapolis Public Library Annual Report 1974. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library and Information Center.
  6. ^ a b c Ryan, Amy (1999). Outlook Twenty Ten. Minneapolis: Minneapolis Public Library.
  7. ^ a b "East Lake Library" (PDF). Minneapolis Public Library. 2007-01-19. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
  8. ^ East Lake Library http://www.hclib.org/about/locations/east-lake
  9. ^ Marty, Gayla, “Dreaming at the Library,” University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development, Spring 2013, http://www.cehd.umn.edu/connect/2013Spring/LearningDreams.HTML
  10. ^ Star Tribune, “Get Help in your Job Search,” 03/08/2015, http://www.startribune.com/business/295417651.html
  11. ^ Russell, Scott, “East Lake Library to Re-open March 3,” The Twin Cities Daily Planets, 02/26/2007, http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/node/3823
  12. ^ Start Seeing Artists, “Zoomorphy by Zoran Mojsilov,” http://www.startseeingart.com/sculpture/zoomorphy-by-zoran-mojsilov/
  13. ^ Lofquist, Janet, “Pages,” http://janetlofquist.com/pages/#4