Losing the Library


The Henepin County Library Board decided the best days of the Robbinsdale Community Library were over and recommended that the building close after 70 years of service.  In 1973, Hennepin County had built a large, regional library called the Rockford Road Library, and could no longer support this historical, first library in suburban Hennepin County. Robbinsdale City Manager, George Delay proposed that volunteers could be found to cover the entire 18 hours the library would be open each week. Delay pointed out that circulation dropped when the library board cut the facilities hours from 45 to 18. Laura Landers, deputy director of the Hennepin County Library system said that although it was a very painful decision to close a library the new Rockford road library was less tahn 2 miles from the Robbinsdale Library and people in Robbinsdale just didn’t understand they were “over-libraried” in the northwest part of the county. Dispite a variety of last ditch efforts the library boards decision was final and the library closed in 1976. It had been a much-used local library with about 17,000 volumes and an annual circulation of over 102,000. It had been built by and was owned by the Robbinsdale Library Club while the City of Robbinsdale provided the maintenance. The last librarian to serve was Mrs. Virginia Lukaszewski, who had worked in the library since 1958.

In 1978, due to the efforts of Verne Baker, Councilman, this building was put on the National Register of Historic Buildings. A plaque on the building reads “Robbinsdale Community Center, Robbin Gallery—Declared National Historic Site 1978—Built in 1926 for use as a public library by Robbinsdale Library Club which was founded in 1904—Donated to the City of Robbinsdale for community use, 1977.

The 1975 Robbinsdale High School Basketball team( above) and a couple photos that pretty well sum up how everyone in Robbinsdale felt after losing 54-49 to Little Falls in the AA Championship game in March 1975 (below) Ouch!

In 1975, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program began in
Robbinsdale. This provided for senior citizens free income tax and property tax helpStephen Roskes, retired agent for the 1RS, is area coordinator. Robbmdale residents who worked on this program include Barbara Berg, Helen Blodgett and Norma Kelly.

In June, Robbinsdale voters approved a proposal to authorize the city to license restaurants and hotels to sell liquor by the drink. The vote was 992 to 507. Voters also approved Sunday liquor sales(881 to 543) and to limit the city’s total investment in bonds of the Robbinsdale Housing and Redevelopment Authority to 2 percent of the city’s annual real property valuation(992-375).

This post is part of a series loosely based on the book Robbinsdale Then and Now by Helen Blodgett.

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