Wabasha Public Library Mission Statement: To improve the quality of life for all citizens by providing services, resources, and lifelong learning opportunities through a variety of materials and formats to meet the informational, educational, cultural, professional, and recreational needs of all library patrons.
The first library in Wabasha was The Wabasha Club. “In the fall of 1868 a club was organized with 42 members, the object being to develop literary culuture and build up a library. This Club consisted of the best society of the place, both ladies and gentlemen. Its managers, however, were gentlemen.” – History of Wabasha County 1920.
After several years, membership in the Wabasha Club began to decline. On January 11, 1871 the women took over the operation of the club and it became the Ladies’ Reading Room and Library Assoication of Wabasha. Article V of the Constitution and By-Laws state, ” any person over fifteen years of age may become a member of this society by signing this constitution and paying into the treasury – if a lady $1.00 if a gentleman $2.00.” Dues of 25 cents per month were also charged. Over the years, the Ladies’ Reading Room and Library Association of Wabasha increased in membership. The club rooms were moved several times.
Until 1901, the librarians of the Ladies’ Library Association worked without pay. The first paid librarian was Mrs. Whiting, who was paid $5.00 per month for librarian and janitorial duties.
The Ladies Library Association ran the library until March of 1911, when they agreed to give the library to the city of Wabasha. The City Council passed a motion to support the library at an expense not to exceed $250.00 per year.
The Wabasha Public Library opened on April 22, 1911. Miss Perrie Jones was the librarian and Miss Emma Peters was the assistant librarian. The Wabasha Public Library was housed in the upstairs of the former City Hall, on the corner of Main Street and Walnut Avenue.
The present Wabasha Public Library was completed in 1968 and dedicated on April 28, 1968. The library now stands on the corner of Alleghany Avenue and Second Street.
Much has changed since the first library in Wabasha. The present library has entered the computer age with automation software for electronic check-out, online catalog, five computers for patron Internet access, and 24 hour (outside seating when the library is closed) wi-fi for those patrons with their own portable devices and laptop computers. We also have talking books on CD or MP3 CD format, music on CD, DVDs and Blu-ray DVDs, magazines, and over 27,000 books and ebooks.