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Central Avenue Library Records

Identifier: HCL 048

Description of Contents

This collection contains fact sheets, brochures, building information, contracts, newspaper clippings, correspondence, plans, maps, and other administrative records documenting the history of Central Avenue Library from 1907 to 1972.


  • Creation: 1909 - 1972



The collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours.


On January 19, 1907, the New Boston sub-branch of the Minneapolis Public Library opened in a rented building at 2335 Central Avenue NE. Circulation increased from 24,000 books in its first year to 42,000 over the next three years. As many as 300 children walked through the library’s doors every day.

The fledgling library’s popularity and small size quickly determined its need for a new, purpose-built location. Director of the Minneapolis Public Library, Gratia Countryman, requested funds from Andrew Carnegie to build new libraries in Minneapolis. In response, Carnegie offered $125,000 for the construction of four libraries. Despite controversy over Carnegie's treatment of his employees, the city council chose to accept his donation. The Central Avenue Library was the second Carnegie library built in Minneapolis and opened its doors on November 15, 1915 at 2200 Central Avenue NE.

Although Carnegie provided funding for the building’s construction, the community raised funds to furnish it. There were two floors of the Central Avenue Library building. The main floor housed most of the library’s day to day services, while the basement held a meeting room and auditorium. Although used by students and citizens of all ages, the library continued to be a popular place for children, with a children’s reading room which circulated almost 70,000 books.

By the 1960s, the library’s circulation faltered and the building was in such disrepair that the cost of renovating surpassed the cost of constructing a new building outright. It was decided the library would be demolished and a new one constructed in its place. During the interim, from June 1971 to October 1972, the Northeast Annex, located at 818 19th Avenue NE, served as a temporary location for the library. Even after renovations, the staff was greatly limited in space and resources, but managed to service the Northeast Minneapolis community for the next sixteen months. The Central Avenue Library was demolished in 1972 and a new library, the Northeast Library, was dedicated on the same site in 1973.


0.21 Linear Feet (1 archival box )

Language of Materials



Fact sheets, brochures, building information, newspaper clippings, correspondence and other administrative records documenting the history and operations of Central Avenue Library in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from 1907 to 1972. Central Avenue Library was part of the Minneapolis Public Library. The Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library merged in 2008. Central Avenue Library was shutdown in 1972.

Custodial History

Materials from before 2008 were included in the Minneapolis Public Library archives (accession 2019.25).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection contains materials transferred to the archives by Hennepin County Library administration in 2017 accession 2019.25.

Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

This is one of many collections documenting Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library locations. For photographs, see HCL 002 Hennepin County Library Photographs. For later, see Northeast Library.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Grant Wilson, supervised by Jenna Jacobs, from September to October 2019.

Central Avenue Library Records
Grant Wilson and Jenna Jacobs
October 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.