On behalf of the Eden Valley Area Library board, Judy Thielen and Diane Thielen spoke to the Eden Valley city council at their July 3 meeting.
The library board plans to apply for two grants that would pay the needed $59,000 to purchase and install a kiosk system for library books. One of the grants also would pay for book delivery for one year, about $5,000.
What the pair requested from the council, and what is needed in order to get these grants, is a commitment to pay half of the delivery fee each year after the first year. At least one-half of the fee must be paid by taxpayers, and the remainder can be from fundraisers, grants, donations, any source.
The deadline to apply for the grants is mid-July, so an answer from the council was needed at their July meeting.
There are only three such kiosks currently in Minnesota: in Victoria, Hugo (see photo on page 12), and in Norwood-Young America.
Eden Valley would be the fourth.
The kiosk system would be connected to the Pioneer Library system, but can access other library holdings in the state as well. A patron can request a book that will be delivered and deposited in a “locker” in the kiosk where only that patron can access it.
The existing three library kiosks in Minnesota are all outdoor systems. The one for Eden Valley would be indoors, inside a separate lobby that could be accessible after-hours but out of the weather.
It is believed that such a system would bring many more people into town who may not otherwise come. It could be used by lake people, by students who need books and materials not available in the school libraries, and by residents in communities some distance from Eden Valley.
The council approved the request, committing a minimum of $2,500 per year for book delivery should the library get the two grants and the new kiosk system.
“It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than a branch library,” noted mayor Pete Korman.
Since its inception less than two years ago, the Eden Valley Area Library now has about 7,000 books, most of them donated; they have only purchased 20 books. There are 250 library card-holding patrons. They have a board of directors, and a 14-member Friends of the Library. There is now a book club, a writing club, a knitting group, kids’ story time with 40-50 kids (and their parents) attending, a seed library, and several other programs, with others in the planning stages.