It’s back-to-school season, and luckily for local families, the Hennepin County library offers local and online support for learners of all ages. The library system, nationally recognized as one of the best in the United States, houses six of its 41 branches in Lake Minnetonka area.
Wayzata // 620 Rice St. E., Wayzata; 612.543.6150
Managing librarian: Nan Nystrom-Hilk
An impressive children’s area draws young readers and their parents to the Hennepin County Library–Wayzata. The area features a different activity each month and recently engaged children in a play farmers’ market, where kids could pretend to shop and use the cash register. With its book sculpture benches, troll bridge and extensive plant life, the children’s garden is also a special place for youngsters to enjoy. The Wayzata library also offers a teen room with computers, book displays and study spaces for local middle and high school students.
Ridgedale // 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka; 612.543.8800
Head librarians: Roberta Kemp and Loren Taylor
The Hennepin County Library–Ridgedale offers many resources for adults looking to start or further their careers. With more than 100 computer workstations, a jobs and small business center, and various meeting rooms, the Ridgedale library boasts an impressive amount of available work space. In addition, Ridgedale houses a Minnesota District Court Self-Help Center where patrons can find information about laws, procedures and forms. Westlaw, a legal research database, is also free to card holders.
Long Lake // 1865 Wayzata Blvd. W., Long Lake; 612.543.6425
Managing librarian: Nan Nystrom-Hilk
Convenience is the name of the game at the Hennepin County Library–Long Lake. Because of its location in a strip mall in the center of downtown Long Lake, the branch is easily accessible for local patrons. Although this branch is a bit smaller, it still offers many of the same services as other branches, including computer labs, a children’s area and wonderful customer service. The librarians at the Long Lake library take pride in helping library-goers in a friendly, efficient manner.
Excelsior // 343 Third St., Excelsior; 612.543.6350
Senior librarian: Peggy Bauer
Look for this library to receive a new home in the next few years. This past spring, the Excelsior Library Advisory Committee finalized plans for a new library, and they hope to break ground on new construction in 2013, with a new library open to the public in 2014. The new building will retain and support many of the features of downtown Excelsior, and the library will continue to support its community via book collections, technology options and programming.
Minnetonka // 17524 Excelsior Blvd., Minnetonka; 612.543.5725
Acting managing librarian: Peggy Bauer
Like Excelsior, the Hennepin County Library–Minnetonka branch is small but filled to the brim with services for community members of all ages. The library offers free programming year-round for children, teens and adults. Head librarian Peggy Bauer says that adults often enjoy talks by local authors as well as the standard offerings of books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and computer access. Bauer points out that library card-holders can access all of the collections offered by the Hennepin County Library at any location.
Westonka // 2079 Commerce Blvd., Mound; 612.543.6175
Head librarian: Christine Clifford
A recent renovation has the Hennepin County Library–Westonka in tip-top shape. Updated furnishings and access to free programming, like Senior Surf Day and family story times, means that library-goers of all ages, abilities and interests can enjoy this library branch. Head librarian Christine Clifford is proud that Westonka also offers adaptive technology; For example, Open Book software scans documents to an application that can read it. The technology is of particular benefit to community members with physical or cognitive disabilities.
Find information about all six libraries online at hclib.org.