2001 anticipating the new library expansion
The Shakopee Library System is expanding once again to keep up with the community’s needs. A public funded entity today and since 1959 when it got the first publicly funded home of its own, the library originally struggled as did many of the early pioneers.
Previous to 1959 the library existed on the gracious help and cooperation of many local businesses, clubs, and organizations. As early as 1857, three years before Abraham Lincoln ran for president, there was a literary society in Shakopee trying to get a local library established. In 1881 a new literary society was formed and by 1882 was in the process of establishing a library for Shakopee. In 1900 a library was operating in the Deutsch Drug Store where Mr. Deutsch donated the space and services required. This kind of effort by local businesses was repeated many times before a permanent home for the library was funded.
By 1903 the library had outgrown the available space in the drug store and moved to the Busse Millinery Shop where it was housed for awhile, then moved to the Economy Store until 1912. In 1912 it was moved to the Stelten Confectionery store where it remained until 1915. In 1915, room for it had been made in the Union School (High School) building. When the Union School became too short on space, sometime in or before 1924, it moved once again to the Deutsch Drug Store where it remained until 1930. In 1930 the library was moved to a new addition to the public high school, and the first long-term home for the library was found, lasting until 1959 when The City of Shakopee supplied funding and a budget.
It appears that all of the early businesses mentioned above contributed the space rent-free, and their services as librarian, or keeper, at no charge, thereby assuring the community a library. During this period the Book Lovers Club and other organizations donated books, initiated drives for financing, and found means to supply other miscellaneous needs for the library as they arose.
After its public funding in 1959, the library had made a number of moves expansions and improvements, keeping up with technology and the needs of the community. The Rahr Foundation supplied the largest ($40,000) grant for the library expansion in 1970 and sustained the tradition of involvement from local businesses.
This latest expansion will again keep us current with the times and maintain the rich heritage enjoyed in the past. We wish the library continued support and excellence in its new home, and a future to rival its past.
Shakopee Heritage Society, 2001