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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Rochester Public Library 'provides something of value to everyone'

Rochester Public Library 'provides something of value to everyone'

This Sunday is all about celebrating community as the Rochester Public Library holds a block party commemorating its 2018 National Medal win.

Members of the public are invited to join library staff, supporters and volunteers for an afternoon of music, food, games and art activities at an outdoor get-to-together in front of the library building. The party goes from 2-5 p.m. and is open to everyone in the community.

“The National Medal win is rare, so our celebration surrounding the prestigious honor calls for a lively, one-of-a-kind party,” says Library Director Audrey Betcher.  

Earlier this year, Rochester Public Library was named a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, becoming just the fourth library in the state to ever receive the honor. The medal is the nation’s highest award given to libraries and museums that bring about change that touches the lives of individuals and helps communities thrive.

 Left to right: Library employees Lauren Hughes and Isaiah Pacey

Left to right: Library employees Lauren Hughes and Isaiah Pacey

"It was a proud moment for all of the staff here," says library employee Lauren Hughes. "Everyone who works here really cares, and they really want to make sure the community is getting a lot out of our services. So, we are constantly thinking about how we can best serve the community."

In receiving the National Medal, the library is being recognized for more than just books and DVDS. With hundreds of free events each year, from literacy classes to LGBTQI meetups, the library is becoming known as a vibrant community center that focuses on family, fun and inclusion.

 Katie Hendrickson says, "With so many services including community education, youth programming, and career services, the library provides something of value to everyone."

Katie Hendrickson says, "With so many services including community education, youth programming, and career services, the library provides something of value to everyone."

"I would challenge anyone to not find something they wouldn't enjoy," says Katie Hendrickson, a Rochester transplant who says she has found familiarity in her new city by becoming a library card-holder.

"Truly there is something of value for everyone at the library," she adds, "whether it is something they can check out, or attend a class, or have their child participate in some of the programming here."

For Michael Sandeen, a father of two who has lived in Rochester for 20 years, it was the family programming along with an extensive music collection that initially got him coming into the library. Now, he says, the library is a place to run into friends and feel more connected to the community.

 Michael Sandeen says, "It was the music collection that got me in here in the first place — it's just an awesome collection of contemporary and rock and jazz music."

Michael Sandeen says, "It was the music collection that got me in here in the first place — it's just an awesome collection of contemporary and rock and jazz music."

"I really don't think of this as just a library," says Michael, a musician who still spends many hours each month sifting through the latest CDs and sheet music. "It's just a great community resource." 

As Rochester joins together Sunday to celebrate its library, Gov. Mark Dayton is doing his part to recognize what library employee Isaiah Pacey describes as a "gem in the community." The governor has declared Sunday, September 9 as Rochester Public Library Day in the state of Minnesota.

Published in partnership with Rochester Public Library

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