Invest in Your Community
Invest in Your Library

We support libraries through fundraising, advocacy, and cultural programming.

More Than Books

Libraries are the best way to strengthen communities because they connect individuals of every age, ethnicity, and background with resources that enrich and improve lives.

Maker Spaces

The library provides technology and space for innovation. Saint Paul resident, Rachel created a package prototype at the George Latimer Central Library.

Small Business Resources

The library helps the local economy. Darren and Oie were able to start their own company using small business resources at Central Library.

Homework Help

The library provides educational support. Ramla's daughter improved her grades thanks to homework help at the Arlington Hills Community Center.

Digital Literacy Training

The library provides opportunity to grow your skills. One of our patrons, Nancy got promoted after taking a digital literacy class at the Rondo Library.

Zhen Tu's Story

There is no better way to understand the impact of the Library than through the personal stories of those who rely on it for learning and inspiration. Zhen Tu first came to the Library as a young girl after moving to the US from China. Watch the story of how the Library helped her become the person she is today.

Has the Public Library Made an Impact in Your Life or Community?

Here's How The Friends Invests

Even in a city that loves its libraries, public funding isn’t enough for libraries to provide all the important resources that residents seek.

The Library, part of the City of Saint Paul, depends on The Friends to support those resources. As an independent nonprofit, The Friends invests in libraries so that they, and the communities they serve, thrive.

We Raise Money

We Advocate

We Produce Programming

We Consult

Stronger Libraries for Stronger Communities

“I don’t know how to help my child with their homework, so this helps them. We love it here, and the kids want to come.”

– Safiya, mother

“This storytime means so much to me because my kids get to learn their native language.”

– Po, parent

“The library brings people together. It’s a place to come together around community and information.”

– Darren, small-business owner

“The best thing about this program is that it has all the resources a low-income student may need to do well in school… along with a safe learning environment for students to work.”

– Mai Xee, student

The need for a strong library is greater than ever.

Upcoming Events

Apr
24
Tue
Poets in Conversation: Tony Curtis & Tim Nolan “Only Interested in Everything” @ Merriam Park Library
Apr 24 @ 7:00 pm

Join O’Shaughnessy Award-winning Irish poet Tony Curtis and local writer Tim Nolan for a conversation about their craft and finding subject matter for their poetry. This program is presented with the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas.

Curtis was born 1955 and grew up in Dublin. He was educated at the University of Essex and Trinity College Dublin.  He has published eight poetry collections, the last four of which have appeared from Arc Publications in the UK.

His books include The Well in the Rain, Folk, and Approximately in the Key of C. Curtis has also been involved a number of collaborative book projects, such as Days Like These with Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan (both of whom are past recipients of the O’Shaughnessy Award), Aran Currach with the Irish photographer Liam Blake; and Pony, with the artist David Lilburn.

A regular participant in the Clifden Arts Festival and at other venues throughout Ireland, he has also read at many festivals in Europe, Australia and the American Northwest. Curtis frequently leads poetry and creative writing workshops with both adults and children.  He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of arts and letters.

Tim Nolan was born in Minneapolis, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in English, and from Columbia University in New York City with an M.F.A. in writing.  Nolan is an attorney in private practice in Minneapolis.  His poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and on The Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry.  His three collections—The Sound of It, And Then, and The Field have all been published by New Rivers Press.

Tony Curtis will receive the 22nd Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in April from the Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas.  His free public reading, which will follow a week of classroom visits and public appearances, will be on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of John Roach Center at the University of St. Thomas.

Apr
25
Wed
More Than a Single Story: Visions of the Future for Men of Color @ Hamline Midway Library
Apr 25 @ 6:30 pm

Local writers, artists, and activists will discuss masculinity and the danger of stereotypes that narrowly define us. David Mura leads a conversation with Art Coulson, Ezekiel Joubert, Shinaah Thao, and Michael Torres, with an opening poem by Anthony Ceballos.

 

About the discussion
The group will talk about their views on how men of color see the future – both what we need for ourselves and what our communities need from us. How can we critique and discard toxic models of masculinity? How do we create a masculinity which helps both us and our communities move forward? How do we heal from our wounds and how do we help provide the next generation with new ways of seeing themselves as men? How do we create new definitions of masculinity that take into account intersectionality, especially in regards to the ways we deal with gender, orientation and an increasingly diverse population?

More Than a Single Story is a series of panel discussions/public conversations where writers of color discuss issues of importance to them in their own voices and in their own words. Founded by Carolyn Holbrook in 2015, the program is loosely based on Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s powerful TED talk, The Danger of a Single Story where she warns against fostering stereotypes by treating one story of a people as their only story.

 

About the participants

Anthony Ceballos has been a guest on KFAI’s Write on Radio and Fresh Fruit radio programs and has read for Intermedia Arts Queer Voices Reading Series, Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Night of Native American Music and Poetry, The Many Faces of Two-Spirit People gallery show at Two Rivers Art Gallery, and more. In 2014 he won the George Henry Bridgeman Poetry Award from Hamline University and was selected to be a Loft Mentor Series mentee in 2016. His work has been featured in The Fulcrum and Yellow Medicine Review. Ceballos received his BFA from the Creative Writing program at Hamline University in 2015, and is working on his first collection of poetry.

Art Coulson is a writer, editor and storyteller who served as the first executive director of the Wilma Mankiller Foundation in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, after a 25-year career in journalism. He was a senior editor at the Pioneer Press for six years and has written for dozens of publications, including the New York Times, Miami Herald, the Star Tribune, The Cherokee Phoenix, and Native Peoples magazine. Coulson is the author of the children’s book The Creator’s Game and Unstoppable: How Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team Beat Army, forthcoming in 2018.

Ezekiel Joubert III is an educator, community involved scholar and creative writer.  As a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction-Culture and Teaching at the University of Minnesota, his work with pre-service teachers focuses on how to make social change in and out of their classrooms by engaging in historical injustices. His current projects include gathering life histories of black elders living in rural metro Detroit, forming an urban-rural Black Southeast Michigan collaborative and writing a collection of speculative poems and short stories on teaching in underserved schools.

David Mura is a poet, creative nonfiction writer, fiction writer, critic, playwright and performance artist. A Sansei or third generation Japanese American, Mura has written two memoirs: Turning Japanese: Memoirs of a Sansei and Where the Body Meets Memory: An Odyssey of Race, Sexuality and Identity. He is also the author of the novel Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire and four collections of poetry, most recently The Last Incantations. Mura has taught widely; currently he teaches in the Stonecoast MFA program and the VONA Writers’ Conference.  He is Director of Training for the Innocent Classroom, a program designed to address the racial achievement gap by training teachers to improve their relationships with students of color.

Shinaah Thao is a Men and Boy’s Coordinator at ManForward, a local Twin Cities Asian men’s group, and also a Program Coordinator with the Men and Masculine Folks Network. In both capacities, he works with a web of non-profits and individuals to organize men, boys, and masculinities to end gender based violence. Besides ManForward, Shinaah also works on the intersections of queer rights, food justice, and deportation. He believes the work he does will push against systems that harm communities, and push for a healthy future where violence isn’t the norm.

Michael Torres was born and brought up in Pomona, California where he spent his adolescence as a graffiti artist. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Sun, Copper Nickel and Green Mountains Review among others. He has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation. Torres is a VONA alum and a CantoMundo Fellow. Currently he teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato and through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

This program is presented with the Hamline Midway Library Association and supported, in part, by the Metro Regional Arts Council, through Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

May
1
Tue
Books & Bars: “All the Ugly and Wonderful Things “ @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall
May 1 @ 5:00 pm

With The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, moderator Jeff Kamin brings his unique take on a public book club show to Saint Paul every first Tuesday of the month (with some exceptions). Even if you don’t like the featured book, he “guarantees a good time at our entertaining discussions.” All are welcome to try this moderated reinvention of the book club. No registration required.

5:00 Happy Hour Social | 6:15 Discussion


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Our May discussion will focus on All the Ugly and Wonderful Things ─ a beautiful and provocative love story between two unlikely people and the hard-won relationship that elevates them above the Midwestern meth lab backdrop of their lives.

As the daughter of a drug dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. It’s safer to keep her mouth shut and stay out of sight. Struggling to raise her little brother, Donal, 8-year-old Wavy is the only responsible adult around. Obsessed with the constellations, she finds peace in the starry night sky above the fields behind her house, until one night her star gazing causes an accident. After witnessing his motorcycle wreck, she forms an unusual friendship with one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold.

By the time Wavy is a teenager, her relationship with Kellen is the only tender thing in a brutal world of addicts and debauchery. When tragedy rips Wavy’s family apart, a well-meaning aunt steps in, and what is beautiful to Wavy looks ugly under the scrutiny of the outside world. A powerful novel you won’t soon forget, Bryn Greenwood’s All the Ugly and Wonderful Things challenges all we know and believe about love.

Elizabeth Faue: Rethinking the American Labor Movement @ Merriam Park Library
May 1 @ 7:00 pm

Learn the story of the labor movement and the various groups that helped form the political and social efforts that shaped our country. Author Elizabeth Faue will discuss these ideas and more from her book, Rethinking the American Labor Movement.

About the Book
Rethinking the American Labor Movement
 delves into the interplay between labor, wealth, and power in a story of the various groups and incidents that make up what we think of as the “labor movement”. While the efforts of the American labor force towards greater wealth parity have been rife with contention, the struggle has embraced a broad vision of a more equitable distribution of the nation’s wealth and a desire for workers to have greater control over their own lives. In this succinct and authoritative volume, Elizabeth Faue reconsiders the various parts of the labor movement, situating them within the context of rapidly transforming 20th century American society to show how these efforts have formed a political and social movement that has shaped the trajectory of American life.

About the Author/Presenter
Elizabeth Faue is known for her work exploring the gendered dimensions of labor, politics, and working-class experience and as an advocate for interdisciplinary scholarship, critical engagement, and higher education. Currently Chair of the Department of History at Wayne State University, she served as associate dean of the Graduate School and as Director of Graduate Studies in History. She is also the author of Community of Suffering and Struggle, on gender in the labor movement of the 1930s, and Writing the Wrongs, a biography of labor journalist, Eva McDonald Valesh.

About the Series
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library celebrates labor history month with four weeks of programs focused on worker rights. Events range from lectures and discussions to a play reading – all asking us to question what we know of labor history and workers’ efforts to organize, seek respect, and confront issues of safety and discrimination over the last century. All programs are free and open to the public.

This Year’s Labor History Series Events:

Elizabeth Faue: Rethinking the American Labor Movement
Tuesday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.
Merriam Park Library

William P. Jones: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Memphis Strike, and Public Sector Unions
Thursday, May 3, 6:30 p.m.
Rondo Community Library

Jimmy Patiño: Raza Sí, Migra No
Monday, May 7, 7:00 p.m.
East Side Freedom Library

It Can’t Happen Here: Play Reading and Discussion
Monday, May 14, 7:00 p.m.
Arlington Hills Community Center

Gary Kaunonen: Flames of Discontent
Saturday, May 19, 2:00 p.m.
Hayden Heights Library

Forging the Farmer-Labor Coalition
Thursday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.
Rice Street Library

May
3
Thu
William P. Jones: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Memphis Strike, and Public Sector Unions @ Rondo Community Library
May 3 @ 6:30 pm

Professor William P. Jones will discuss the sanitation strike that Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for prior to his death in 1968, as well as the broader history of public sector unions.

The night before his assassination in April 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke to a group of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, telling them: “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through” (“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop”). Professor William P. Jones will discuss the sanitation strike, its ramifications, and the history of public sector unions.

About the Presenter

Dr. Jones is a historian of the 20th century United States, with particular interests in the relationships between race and class. He is the author of two books: The March on Washington: Jobs, Freedom and the Forgotten History of Civil Rights and The Tribe of Black Ulysses: African American Lumber Workers in the Jim Crow South and is currently writing on the history of race and inequality in public employment. Before coming to the University of Minnesota in 2016, he taught at the University of Wisconsin and Rutgers University.

About the Series
The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library celebrates labor history month with four weeks of programs focused on worker rights. Events range from lectures and discussions to a play reading – all asking us to question what we know of labor history and workers’ efforts to organize, seek respect, and confront issues of safety and discrimination over the last century. All programs are free and open to the public.

This Year’s Labor History Series Events:

Elizabeth Faue: Rethinking the American Labor Movement
Tuesday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.
Merriam Park Library

William P. Jones: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Memphis Strike, and Public Sector Unions
Thursday, May 3, 6:30 p.m.
Rondo Community Library

Jimmy Patiño: Raza Sí, Migra No
Monday, May 7, 7:00 p.m.
East Side Freedom Library

It Can’t Happen Here: Play Reading and Discussion
Monday, May 14, 7:00 p.m.
Arlington Hills Community Center

Gary Kaunonen: Flames of Discontent
Saturday, May 19, 2:00 p.m.
Hayden Heights Library

Forging the Farmer-Labor Coalition
Thursday, May 24, 7:00 p.m.
Rice Street Library

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library Blog

Featured Post

2018 Minnesota Book Award Winners Announced

April 23, 2018

30th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Presented April 21, 2018, SAINT PAUL, MN – The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has announced the winners of the 30th annual Minnesota Book Awards, sponsored by Education Minnesota. In addition to winners in nine categories, The Friends presented the Book Artist, Hognander Minnesota History, and Kay Sexton…

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More From the Blog

36 Finalists Blog: Louise Erdrich

April 20, 2018

Each day leading up to the 30th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists. Learn more about these incredible local writers and gear up to see the winners announced live in person April 21.   Interview with Louise Erdrich, author of Future Home of the…

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“Moving Words” to Bring Authors Across the State

April 20, 2018

presents: Moving Words Writers Across Minnesota In our role as the Center for the Book, The Friends will host a series of readings and discussions across the state’s 12 regional library systems. Moving Words is an opportunity for readers and writers to explore the impact of literature in their lives, how being a Minnesotan informs…

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36 Finalists Blog: Lesley Nneka Arimah

April 20, 2018

Each day leading up to the 30th annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony, we’ll be featuring an exclusive interview with one of our 36 finalists. Learn more about these incredible local writers and gear up to see the winners announced live in person April 21.   Interview with Lesley Nneka Arimah, author of What It Means…

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The need for a strong library is greater than ever.