Hennepin County Library

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Hennepin County Library
Minneapolis Central Library and night skyline.jpg
Established 1885
Location Hennepin County, Minnesota, United States
Branches 41
Website www.hclib.org
The Minneapolis Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, designed by César Pelli, completed in 2006
The first central Minneapolis Public Library, early 1900s
2011 HCL library card
Ridgedale Library, HCL's headquarters

Hennepin County Library is a public library system serving the entire population of Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA. The current iteration of Hennepin County Library was formed by the merger of urban Minneapolis Public Library and suburban Hennepin County Library on January 1, 2008. The system has 41 library locations, deposit collections at nursing homes and correctional facilities, mail service to the homebound and extensive outreach services. The Library is a department of Hennepin County Government. The library headquarters are in the Ridgedale Library in suburban Minnetonka.[1] The library system has an eleven-member advisory Library Board appointed by the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners.[2] It is a member of the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, a consortium of eight Twin Cities library systems.

Minneapolis Public Library was founded in 1885 with the establishment of the Minneapolis Public Library Board by an amendment of the Minneapolis city charter. Minneapolis Public Library’s first building was the Main Library, opened in 1889. Minneapolis Public Library later added community library branches to supplement the main library. The first branch was North Branch, established in 1890, more branches in south and east Minneapolis followed and the system grew with the city. [3]

Hennepin County Library started in 1922 as a horse-drawn "bookmobile" to areas outside the core city of Minneapolis. The system saw a large increase in use in the period between 1950 and 1980 as more people moved into suburban areas of the county. By 1952 there were 24 libraries in the system, additional city libraries such as Hopkins, were incorporated into the county system. Hennepin County Library opened its first area library, Southdale, in 1973. In the early 1970s plans were in place to merge the Minneapolis Public Library with the HCL, however the Minneapolis library system reconsidered and merger plans were put on hold.[4] Ultimately the two library systems reached an agreement and the merger was finalized on January 1, 2008 under the name of Hennepin County Library.[5]



Suburban Hennepin County

City locations


The Hennepin County Free Library started operating a bookmobile (then called a book wagon) in 1923. Residents did not use library cards, but were rather issued Walleye which were engraved with a special serial number to identify members of the library.[6]

HCL directors


  1. "About Hennepin County Library." Hennepin County Library. Retrieved on March 24, 2010. "Hennepin County Library launched in 1922; its headquarters are at Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka, Minn."
  2. "[1]." Hennepin County Library Board. Retrieved on January 20, 2015.
  3. "Library Book," by Bruce Weir Benidt, published 1984.
  4. History of Hennepin County Library, [2], p. 17
  5. "Library Merger Updates." Hennepin County Library. Retrieved on October 4, 2010. "[...]allowing the merger to take place Jan. 1, 2008."
  6. Hennepin County Library, "In the Beginning", https://www.hclib.org/pub/info/HistoryBooklet.pdf, retrieved October 4, 2014.

External links