Farmington Library

Sr. Information Assistant Angella Hanson and Children's Librarian Aimee Schreiber from the Farmington Library stopped in to chat about the library's history and upcoming events.

Farmington Library Podcast Episode

[00:00:00] This is the Farmington Feed, bringing you information from the City of Farmington.

Lauren: Welcome back to the fourth episode of Farmington Feed. I am Lauren Siebenaler, the city's communication specialist, and it's may now, which means summer is just around the corner. I don't know about you, but I'm so looking forward to all of the fun outdoor activities. Music and the Park, national night out, before you know it, it's going to be Dew Days. And then it will be fair season. All those mini doughnuts and corn dogs. I'm drooling thinking about it already. With 2022 being the city's 150th anniversary. I've been learning a lot about Farmington lately. For instance, did you know the Dakota County Fair was held in the streets of Farmington from 1900 to 1900? Or did you know, the Farmington Library is the only library in Dakota County that is named after the city that it's in today. I am sitting down with a couple of guests from the Farmington library to talk about its [00:01:00] past in Farmington and new programming coming up this summer.

Joining me now is Angella Hanson, a senior information assistant at the Farmington library, and she has been with the library for 22 years. I thought it would be so fun to have her on the podcast today to talk about the library's lengthy history. Going back to before Farmington was even incorporated as a city. Thanks for coming on the podcast today, Angela.

Angella: Hi. Thank you.

Lauren: I understand that you're a kind of an unofficial historian for the library. And you in your research, it looks like the first mentions of a public library occurred in the Farmington Telegraph newspaper in 1860. Can you tell me a little bit about the timeline you've put together that chronicles the Farmington library?

Angella: Sure. The timeline came together to help me keep track of the libraries many lives and locations. It starts [00:02:00] in Mr. Groves lending library in 1868 and the timeline follows the library through 154 years of openings, closings and moves. We've been in at least 14 different locations and it can get a little tricky keeping track of it all.

Lauren: But along that timeline, you found some spots too in there that you don't have no idea where the library was at that time. Can you talk about that? A little?

Angella: Sure. The biggest mystery is in Pete's tin shop. That's I think in the 1920s, there's also references to a number of drug stores that we had shelves in. And I have an address for one. But not for the other addresses are great. If the lots are the same. So if the city lots have changed, whether it's the size of the lots, the number of the lots, then the addresses won't be correct.

Lauren: How have you conducted this research on the library and how have you been able to fill in some of those gaps?

Angella: [00:03:00] Well, I start with the resources at hand. The library has a fair selection of newspapers, local history material. Books birth and death certificates, et cetera. I got started with articles by David Schreier. He's a local historian. So that's where that's where I got started. I've also done some research with the Dakota County Historical Society in south St. Paul and the Minnesota history center in St. Paul. Sure. It was at the history center that I found out about our participation in the Minnesota free traveling library program. Oh, from 1899 to 1912.

Lauren: Wow, that's cool. So it was traveling around just Dakota County?

Angella: No, actually the entire state, the state had put together crates of material in an effort to improve literacy around the state and different communities could sign up to participate and they would send a crate out for 50 cents plus shipping. And of course we had the train tracks coming through at the [00:04:00] time you had to have a location, you had to have a librarian and then every six months, you could sign up for another crate and it would rotate and rotate and rotate. We were so successful that we were recognized by the state program and they urged us to set up our own library.

Lauren: That is so cool. Can you talk a little bit about the first location of the library?

Angella: Sure. So the first location is usually thought to be Mr. Groves law library, and that was west of the Depot, not the one of those addresses back then that really don't help us a whole lot. Right now I'm guessing that was probably around first and Oak. I think though that his office was actually more of a meetings and storage space until the library was set up. At flukes and Thurston's drug store the first advertisement for Mr. Groves library was in November 1868 and the drugstore library opened in January 1869, just two months later. [00:05:00] So I don't think there was actually two libraries at the time. I think they were working together personally.

Lauren: Sure.

Angella: I have a real address for fluke in Thurston's. That was 519 third street. But again, that goes back to lot numbers. And what was then versus what is now and all kinds of changes over time? I think it does.

Lauren: Why is the Farmington library named after Farmington?

Angella: That's a fun question. I asked the same question back when I started, as you know, most of the Dakota county branches are named after the streets that they were built on. I was told that our library got to stay the Farmington library because we were the very first library in the county. It was a recognition of our heritage and our longevity.

Lauren: Wow. That is so interesting that Farmington was like the first library in Dakota county.

Angella: We were. Yep. It was, it was a circulating library. It also had a period of time where it was a membership library, but still we had the material here for our citizens.

Lauren: Very cool. Do you think there are [00:06:00] still books in the library that were around back then?

Angella: No. No, not in our collection. Anyway, maybe the history center in south St. Paul has some.

Lauren: Sure.

Angella: Our oldest book is I think from 1908, but now you make me want to go double check. Do you remember what the name of it is? It's a history of Dakota county.

Lauren: Okay. Very cool! I went over to the library to dig into the microfiche system. I've been on a mission to figure out when Farmington Liquors was established. And I have a guess that it was established between 1935 and 1945. So I went over there and I met Angella and we had an amazing conversation about Farmington's history, and the library's history and all of this really cool stuff that happened in Farmington 150 years ago. I learned so much when I went over there. And I think a lot of other people, if they want to dig into the history of Farmington, can go over there and look too. So I wanted to talk [00:07:00] about the microfiche a little bit and what that is and, and how people can go check it out.

Angella: Absolutely. The system that we have can handle both microfiche and microfilm microfiche is a flat piece of film with micro photographs on it. So it could be pages of a newspaper, a catalog, some sort of documents, micro film. Really exactly the same thing. It's just an, a film format. Like tape churn can keep thousands of images on microfilm, just usually a couple hundred on microfiche. Our equipment at the library can handle both formats. Our in-house newspaper collect.

Is currently all microfilm it's from 1856, all the way up to 2008 using this system is a first come first serve basis. You don't need a reservation and anybody on staff can get you started.

Lauren: It was really cool. So when I went over to the library, I was looking at, I started at 1934 and I spent a couple hours over there and basically like [00:08:00] photo copy whatever you find on the microfilm and take it with you. You can use like USB, you can email it to yourself so you can have all of that research that you just did on your own computer. So in the end, I was not able to find out exactly which year Farmington's municipal liquor began, but I did find Lakeville's at the end of 1934.

Angella: We're hoping that we can get back and find it in 1935 because of the extra research that we did.

Lauren: Yeah. So Angela looked into it a little bit further than me. And you found out that Farmington was dry before prohibition even started, which I didn't know about at all.

Angella: I hadn't, I hadn't heard that myself, but prior to prohibition, they had passed an ordinance saying that they were a dry city and then prohibition came. So everybody was dry. And then after prohibition was lifted, the, city leaders contacted the attorney [00:09:00] general, the State of Minnesota and asked how they should proceed. And they were told that since the ordinances predate prohibition, they're still in force. So Farmington, even though prohibition had been lifted, Farmington was still considered dry.

Lauren: Sure.

Angella: They wanted to repeal that they had to take care of that themselves. I haven't been able to follow up with the rest of the story.

Lauren: I'm going to keep digging into this and hopefully we can figure. So if you've got a project that you're looking into, you can just stop into the library and go research it yourself.

Angella: Absolutely.

Lauren: The library was once held at city hall.

Angella: Oh my gosh. We've been at city hall for her long time. The oldest photograph of a library in Farmington I have is from 1907. And that was when we had the top floor of the city hall slash fire station that was over on, oh, now memory fails me. I think that might've been on Elm.

Lauren: Elm or Oak?

Angella: We've bounced between [00:10:00] businesses and city hall since then 1907 since forward. We've always had such wonderful support from the community.

Lauren: So the library and the city have had a longstanding relationship going back to before the city was even incorporated. The library has been held in city halls and the fire station, in businesses. I think our partnership in this town is unique because of that longstanding history. And I think it just grows from there. We have parks and recreation programs together now. We collaborate on events like Koo Koo Kangaroo last year at Dew Days. And then I also, you are kind of the leader of the geo caching in our parks. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Angella: I can! We are going to host another summer long family geocaching adventure with the park and recs department. It begins June 6th and you can register and pick up a booklet at the [00:11:00] library. We are going to have three prize levels this year at, after you have five finds inside the park. You find the geocache five times, there's going to be a prize. And then again at 15 and a grand prize for 25 fines, if you find a geocache at every one of the parks. So I hope everyone will swing in and pick up a booklet and have a little bit of fun.

Lauren: Yeah. It's such a fun activity and you get outside. You get to enjoy the weather and you get to do a little exploring. It's always fun for the family.

Angella: It's a great activity for the group.

Lauren: Like I said, previously, I've been digging into city information at the library and our old files and pictures, and I even looked through some police archives and city records. Residents have stopped into city hall to drop off historical artifacts, such as buttons, books, and newspapers. I have been pointed in the direction of residents who have lived here for many, many years. And I just want to put out to our audience that if you have any information from relatives that have lived here in the past, the city and the [00:12:00] library are always looking for more history information.

Angella: Absolutely. There are a few things that I haven't found. There's some locations when I'm not exactly sure. The time period they were there. I've got time periods where I know where we were, but I don't know where that business was. I'd love to fill in the spot.

Lauren: Yeah. That would be amazing.

Angella: Yes.

Lauren: So if there's any residents around that, you know, used to live here back then, or have grandparents that used to live here back in the day, that'd be great for you to reach out and let us know. Angela, thanks so much for being here today.

Angella: Thank you very much.

Lauren: I've learned so much from you today and you know, in the weeks that we've known each other. And coming up, I'm going to talk with Angela's coworker, Amy, who is the new children's librarian.

Welcome to Farmington Feed, Amy, and welcome to the Farmington community. You started your new role as the children's librarian in January. Can you tell us a little [00:13:00] bit about yourself and what led you to the Farmington library?

Aimee: Of course. Hi everyone. Thanks for having me on the podcast today. A little bit about me. I grew up down river a smidge in Winona and unsurprisingly. I have always loved books and reading. My family were big library users. I have many fond memories of hot summer days spent in the cool stacks of the library devouring books. When my eight year old self would have decidedly told you that I was destined to be an Olympic gymnast. I knew I did know pretty early on that I wanted to pursue a career as a librarian. I earned my master's degree in library and information science from St. Kate's up here in St. Paul in 2014.

Lauren: Awesome.

Aimee: And I've now worked in libraries for almost eight years. Which has been just a fantastic experience. I joined Dakota County Library and the Farmington Library specifically because of the wonderful community. The patrons really do think of the library as theirs and their enthusiasm for what the library offers the community is in factious.

Lauren: Awesome. We're [00:14:00] so happy to have you in Farmington and congratulations on your new role. So what kind of things will you be doing at the library? Like what does your role look like over there as children's librarian?

Aimee: Yeah, so my job as the children's librarian means that I manage the children's collections. So all of the books that are in picture books and the kids chapter books, and non-fiction, I get to work with those. I serve as a friendly, hopefully face for patrons who need help finding books or items. I also really love planning programs and events for kids and families. That's probably. My favorite part of the job. I love that the public library serves as this community hub for Farmington, a place where everyone is welcome and their stuff for everyone to enjoy. Definitely. And I'm really liking, getting to know all the kids and families in Farmington. That's been a great experience so far.

Lauren: So fun. What would you say? Just a question off the top of my

head. Well, what'd you say is like the most popular kids book right now.

Aimee: Oh my goodness. Well, bad guys is [00:15:00] really popular because there's a series coming out on TV. So there are graphic novels for kids. They're really easy readers. They're a great way to get kids grabbed into reading. So if you're looking for something hot topic, this summer ,bad guys is the way to go.

Lauren: Oh, good to know. Perfect. So you also talked about how one of the most exciting things about your job is the events that you get to plan and be a part of. What is your favorite eventto plan or so far that you've been here?

Aimee: That my favorite one that I've already done is probably earth day. We had a fantastic event in April celebrating earth, and we got to make seed balls that the kids got to take home and plant wheat. Earth colored Play-Doh. That was super fun. We did some flower crafts. That was a really great activity that we got to, that I got to plan. I'm really looking forward to all of the great stuff we have coming up this summer. And specifically, I really like planning story time.

Lauren: Yes, let's talk about Storytime in the park. So [00:16:00] this'll be the first time since COVID that we've really had a legit storytime. So how does it feel to be back?

Aimee: It feels great to be back. Bringing back storytime is something that families have been asking for. Kids have been asking about. And it's one of my favorite things to present. It brings together people from all over the community and the kids really are having a great time. And so are the parents or the guardians and caregivers, they're really enjoying, you know, books together and storytelling. And we include a lot of finger plays and rhymes. And I do a lot of dancing at my storytimes with big, you know, motor movements. Fine motor movement. So it's a really fun way to get everyone up and moving. And especially with storytimes being in partnership with parks and rec this summer, we get to do story time, which is all literacy based. Then we absolutely get to do crafts and activities and outdoor games with the parks and rec crew. And it's just going to be such a great collaboration to get to. [00:17:00] All of the parks in Farmington get parents and families to parks that might not be their neighborhood park. You know, come on over to Vermilion Grove. You didn't even know there was a Vermilion Grove. Now you do! So that's going to be a real highlight this summer.

Lauren: We are super excited for it too. And we're super excited for story trails. So that is new. Can you talk about that too?

Aimee: Yes. So we're bringing story trails to Farmington for the first time. And story trails are oversized picture book pages attached to outdoor signs. Think like yard signs that you might see in someone's yard. There's a whole row of along a path. So anyone can walk, stroll, role all along the path and read a story along the way. We are going to get to highlight three different trails with three different stories. This summer. Stories about pigs, cows, how to say hello in different languages; all sorts of fun stories are going to be highlighted. Each trail is also going to have a fun craft or activity that ties in with the book theme. [00:18:00] So for the cows story, we're going to get to make cow bells with jingle bells and fun cups. So it'd be really fun.

Lauren: Awesome. Well, what other events does the library have coming up this summer?

Aimee: We have some I'm really excited for. Mighty machines is coming up really soon in June. It's touch a truck- kids get to climb inside, touch, explore all kinds of trucks from firetrucks to dump trucks. Right in the libraries parking lot, the vehicle drivers and operators are going to be on hand to answer any deep burning questions we have about how does the light go or how does the ladder go up on the on the firetruck? So they're going to be right there to answer those questions. Those experts now be a really fun event

Lauren: Yeah, and I'm sure they love that too.

Aimee: Oh, they do. So this year mighty machines was prompted by the drivers of the vehicles. They wanted to bring it back. So we're really excited.

Lauren: Yeah. That's so fun.

Aimee: We also have musical mornings coming up, which is a great partnership with parks and rec again and [00:19:00] with the 192 ECFE. So we're going to be offering a series of three child-friendly musical performances this summer and each musical morning we'll have a concert followed by crafts and activities and all sorts of stuff for the whole family. We're going to have the bazillions, which is a kid rock and roll band. We're going to have Japanese Tyco drumming from Tyco arts Midwest. And interactive songs and movement with the rosy posies. So musical mornings is a great way to bring the whole family out, have a great musical experience in the park and then get to do some fun crafts and activities with ECFE.

Lauren: So, one thing that I heard going on at the library is the Lego club. What is that?

Aimee: Yeah. So Lego club is really fun STEM activity. We're running it every month. Kids are challenged to build based on a challenge or theme. So like in March we had a bucket challenge, they had a bucket full of Legos and they had to use every single piece in their creation. In April, they had a bridge challenge. They had a big piece of blue paper and they had to build a bridge over that paper. [00:20:00] So each month is a little bit different. And creations, once they're done, they have an hour to build. They're put on display at the library. So if you want to, you can come by and check out what the kids have been building at low club every month.

Lauren: So cool. So cool. Well, is there any other events coming up that you want to talk about?

Aimee: I do want to talk about craft fair because we're getting to bring that back this year, too. So. Opportunity for young entrepreneurs, open to ages four to 18 to show and sell any of their crafty creations. So if you've been in lockdown, making friendship bracelets, and you're eight years old, this is your time to shine. So you can sign up for a slot and crafter is going to be outdoors right at the library, and you can sell and show off all of your crops.

Lauren: Cool. That'll be so fun to be able to show it off and show all the hard work that they did.

Aimee: Yes. And I know that there's people who've been working on cool stuff this whole time, and I want to see it.

Lauren: There is so much crafty stuff out there. I mean, I go on Tik TOK all the time and you see the amazing things that these kids come up with are just being so [00:21:00] creative.

Aimee: Right. And it's going to be right there in the middle of downtown stop by. You can buy something. Cool too.

Lauren: Yeah. That's great. Anything else that you would like to add?

Aimee: Last thing is a dance party. So I told you I love to dance during storytimes and we are going to do an full hour story and dance event called move and groove at like Julia. So it's a kid-friendly dance party music movement. We're going to have props like scarves, bubbles, shaker, eggs, shoots, all the things that you want to dance and move and groove. So if you're looking for a dance party, adventure, You want to come to move in group this summer?

Awesome. When is that taking place?

So that's over at Lake Julia and that's coming around July 7th. It's a Thursday. So it's during our normal Storytime time. But instead of having story time, that day we're having move and groove.

Lauren: Okay, great. Am I missing anything?

Aimee: I think we highlighted all the great [00:22:00] stuff and of course, the library is open all summer. So come play with the dinosaurs, hang out in the silos, come and check out your favorite book. We are waiting and we're excited to be here all summer for you.

Lauren: Yes. Well, thank you so much, Amy, for coming on the podcast today and for talking about all the exciting stuff coming up at the library, it was so great to be here.

Aimee: I'm glad I could share my excitement. And if you want more information, stop in the library, check out the website. We've got tons of info out there about all the summer activities.

Lauren: Yes. Thanks.

Before I wrap up today's episode, I want to share a few upcoming city events. The first music in the park event will take place at rambling river park on May 25th. The Capri big band will be playing at 7:00 PM. The first puppet wagon event will start off on June 17th. Check Farmington for the [00:23:00] full-scale. The do run will take place on June 18th day of registration starts at 7 a.m. and the races begin at 8 a.m. and then Dew Days will be taking place the weekend of June 25th. Koo Koo Kangaroo is returning thanks to the city and ECFE, we are super excited to have them back this year. They were a blast last year. And that is all I have for you.

Thank you for listening. If you have any feedback on the podcast, guest requests or ideas, email me, Lauren, at And don't forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you next time.

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