Archived Story

Thorson Memorial Library a story of success

Published 9:18am Tuesday, April 2, 2013 Updated 11:53am Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In a town of just over 1,000 people, you might not expect the library to provide much more than books and some Internet access. But sitting at the crossroads in Elbow Lake, Thorson Memorial Library has become the center of activity for the town that continues to thrive year after year.

“People really just enjoy coming together here,” said head librarian Gail Hedstrom.

If next weekend’s annual Library-a-thon is any indicator, residents of the Elbow Lake area have taken to the library as a cultural center for the city. Now a staple each spring for over a decade, the library is preparing for a turnout of several hundred people to attend its annual celebration this Friday and Saturday.

The celebration, which starts Friday with a bake sale beginning at 10 a.m., includes a community supper, cupcake baking contest, family movie, antique appraisal show, bingo for books and community wide scrabble games as a finale on Sunday.

Funds raised during all the events go toward the Friends of the Library general fund that helps pay for anything from an author giving a reading to summer programs for children. With attendance for the event so high, it is safe to say that residents take the funding of their library very seriously.

“People get that the library is a good bang for their buck, with what is invested in it there’s a big return,” said Hedstrom. “They look at it as a value asset service. It provides everyone with entertainment, enjoyment and is a safe place to spend time.”

With art on display, readings from authors, adult and children’s book clubs and classes, Thorson Memorial is a story of the little library in a little town making it in an ever changing world. As funding for services like libraries look to be cut each year across the country, Thorson memorial is only looking to grow.

“We keep reinventing ourselves,” said Hedstrom. “In a small town, being able to expose people to art and artists in the community, to writers to and their work, the library is a place to get hands on experience with new things that we can provide for people.”

It’s the community aspect that Hedstrom recognizes as the main contribution to the success the library has each year and that will continue for years to come.

“I like to say everyone has a place at the table,” Hedstrom said. “The library is always welcoming and comfortable and people have ownership in it. People think of it as their library.”

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