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BE Library is one-stop information shop

By Staff | Aug 6, 2017

books. In the photo just above, the library staff is composed of, left to right, Corinne Eckhardt, Eva Gaydon, Janice Croom, Janet Gaylord and volunteer (and former library employee) Betty Garvick. Not available for the photo is library employee Debra Soria.

The Blue Earth Community Library has books. Lots and lots of books.

But, they have much, much more.

Besides the books, there are magazines, newspapers, movies, computers with Internet access, and a lot more.

“I guess you could say we are a one-stop shop for information,” says head librarian Eva Gaydon. “We have a lot to offer the community. That includes access to virtually any book published.”

The library’s association with Traverse de Sioux Library System enables them to get any book they need or their patrons want.

“We have current issues of many magazines and newspapers as well,” Gaydon says. “And we have past issues of the Faribault County Register and the Blue Earth Post back to the very first one in 1862, up through the 1960s.”

While most people think a library is a quiet place, that is not always true.

“It is quiet here sometimes,” says Gaydon. “But sometimes it is crazy.”

That has to do with all of the events and programs the library puts on. There is a summer reading program each year which includes many fun events for kids.

“We also host author book signings,” Gaydon adds. “We have well-known authors as well as local authors. Our next one is Darcy Miller, a former Blue Earth person, who is signing copies of her book, “Roll,” on Aug. 6.”

They also had some games, treats and contests on Aug. 1 in celebration of Harry Potter’s birthday.

Another fun event will be a picnic party at Putnam Park on Aug. 21 to celebrate the total Solar Eclipse that day. The library received a grant that included 1,000 special glasses to view the eclipse safely.

The Blue Earth Community Library is open to the public on Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

There is a crew of six employees who man the library during those open hours.

Gaydon has been the librarian for 15 years, having started here in January of 2002. Before she came to Blue Earth, she was at the Wells Library for a few years.

Janet Gaylord started working at the library in November of 1999 and Corrine Eckhardt in October of 2001.

Two recent newly hired employees are Janice Croom and Debra Soria, who both started last December. Croom was the Elmore librarian for five years before coming to Blue Earth to be the childrens librarian here.

One more person at the library is Betty Garvick who is a volunteer and just works on Tuesday. Before she became a volunteer she was a library employee for eight years.

The Blue Earth Community Library is located on Seventh Street in downtown Blue Earth, across the street from Bevcomm. Before that they were located in what is now the Etta C. Ross Museum.

They are now located in a building that had once been a grocery store Moulten’s, then Denny’s, Dale’s and finally Ron’s Fareway.

When the last grocery store closed in 1980 or so, discussion started on moving the library to the empty building.

Library employee Janet Gaylord was a member of the City Council back then, and remembers it well.

“There was a lot of discussion, with some council members for it, and others against it,” Gaylord says. “Eventually, in 1984 I believe, there was a citywide election Valentines Day to decide whether to make the move or not.”

The next year, 1985, it moved to its current home.

There have been many changes since that time, including many upgrades. Recently an upgrade was to turn the former back room, used as a community meeting room, and turning it into a research room.

Gaydon says the library has had very few librarians in its long history, including Etta Cummings, Nancy Steele and Virgianna Murra. One of them was the librarian for 50 years.

“I don’t think I will break that record,” Gaydon says with a laugh. “It is a great job, but 50 years? I don’t think so.”