100 Years / 100 Stories

100 Years/100 Stories is an expanding collection of stories from our community, as told through written word, photography, audio, and video. They are all unique, and yet they share a similar thread of living and learning in Saint Paul. We are proud to have been a gathering place for Saint Paul residents for 100 years and look forward to serving the city for 100 more.

Minis galore! 😮 Happy 100th anniversary 🎆 to the @stpaullibrary !...
... #vanillastrawberry… https://www.instagram.com/p/BaT3B1AlgTa/

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Victorian-to-Steampunk Costume Party celebrating George Latimer Central Library's 100th birthday on October 15, 2017

Khun's Story

The definition of a refugee is “one who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.”…

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Khun's Story

Author: Khun Myo

The definition of a refugee is “one who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.”

My life started as a refugee boy dwelling in a fragile shelter made of leaves and bamboo sticks.

Many have asked, what is it like to be a refugee? Yet, not a lot have the experience. As a refugee boy, I would like to share my experience of what it’s like to be in the camp, compared to living in America. Hopefully, this will give a good understanding to those who seek to know.

My parents fled Myanmar into the wilderness in fear of government persecution. The wilderness lead us to a refugee camp where my family and I lived in exile. I hate to say it, but I think I was born at the wrong time. Anyways, we lived in a small shelter; the size of a hut made of bamboo. Many bamboo huts made up the camp, and when all the huts are packed together, it formed a village. The life of a refugee wasn’t so pleasant. Food was scarce, and the freshest water came from the muddy river. Each day was all about survival. No one ever comes and serve free food. The only way to survive was to hunt what nature provided. When stormy season came around; the dark gloomy sky covered the land, and all hell broke loose. The wind became a violent razor hurricane. Thunders began to roar. Then came the rain; pouring down in rage. The roofs made of leaves flew into the sky, and the branches of the trees fell onto the huts. When the storm calms, the village was nearly destroyed. Some huts endured and survived; others collapsed. The huts, the village, and the people had to face this crisis every year. After six years of miseries and despair, our family was finally eligible to immigrate to the United States. Khun’s Story

My family and I settled in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The city was huge and full of surprises. Since there was a sudden change in the environment, it was very difficult for me to get adapted to the surroundings. As a boy who came from the wild, I have never seen city lights, cars, and skyscrapers. What happened to the trees? What happened to the jungle? What happened to my cows and chickens? These are the type of questions I asked when I first arrived. However, growing up in a new place wasn’t bad at all. I’ve gained opportunities that I couldn’t get back in the refugee camp. Here I was granted free educations, which got me into schools and that impacted my life. My first time being in a school with different people speaking different language gave me the understanding of diversity. Becoming friends with different people with their unique background also made me a wise and a knowledgeable person.

I am a refugee boy that had faced many challenges and obstacles. I know what it’s like to be hungry, poor, and to live in an unsafe environment. Getting out of the misery life and coming to the United States was a life-changing moment for me. I was given opportunities that I couldn’t get back in the camp. Hence from knowing my experience, I hope it gives a good understanding of what is like to be a refugee and what it means for us to be in the land of the free.

"Music to my ears"

In the late ’50’s I worked in the “Reading Room” of the Central library. My most abiding memory was the end of the workday when the staff walked through the stacks to warn patrons of the need to check out as the library would close in 15 minutes.

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"Music to my ears"

Author: Pauline McMahon

In the late ’50’s I worked in the “Reading Room” of the Central library. My most abiding memory was the end of the workday when the staff walked through the stacks to warn patrons of the need to check out as the library would close in 15 minutes.

After the time was up and a search of all rooms was made and it was verified all was clear, the janitor, standing in the hall between the “Reading Room” and “Reference”, banged two tin pie plates together, signaling the end of our day. It was music to my ears.

George Turns 100!

“At 100 years old, Saint Paul’s Central Library remains a grand testament to the joy and imperative of learning,” said Library Director Jane Eastwood. “In recent years, Central has been extensively enhanced to position the building for the future needs of the community. We are excited to celebrate Central’s rich history and its bright future.”…

George Turns 100!

“At 100 years old, Saint Paul’s Central Library remains a grand testament to the joy and imperative of learning,” said Library Director Jane Eastwood. “In recent years, Central has been extensively enhanced to position the building for the future needs of the community. We are excited to celebrate Central’s rich history and its bright future.”

Completed in 1917, Central Library was designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style by architect Electus Litchfield and features round-arched windows, Palladian style entrances, large stonework, a balustrade, which surrounds the building. Litchfield’s design for Saint Paul’s Central Library was heavily influenced by the design for the J. P. Morgan Library in New York.

In 2014, Central Library was renamed the George Latimer Central Library, in honor of George Latimer, a former mayor of Saint Paul. In late 2015, the library was renovated to enhance circulation and public service areas, including a new Nicholson Workforce and Innovation Center, which offers business resources, classroom and study space, a digital media lab, and recording equipment. The renovation project was funded by private donations raised by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library.

Thanks for a great party celebrating 100 years of central Library @stpaullibrary

Laying of Central Library's cornerstone

Staff poring over a compendium of documents related to Central's early history.

Jane Eastwood, Saint Paul Public Library's Director, poses for a Victorian selfie.

Share Your Own Story!

SPPL has developed a set of fun, easy-to-use tools that allow you to share YOUR story. Explore our tools below.

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