Although Owatonna, Minnesota, enjoyed a limited amount of social library provision from the mid-nineteenth century onward, it was not until the 1890s that pressure mounted for a public library to be established under the terms of the State Library Act of 1879. The opportunity to provide a public library arose with a bequest from Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Hunewill, who had run a hardware business in the town. Attached to the money they left in their wills for a library building and books were conditions not greatly different from those imposed by Carnegie, but without the detailed design guidance that was later pioneered by Carnegie’s organization. This paper focuses on the way that the leaders of the community went about planning and building the new library, with the services of an able architect, but also with a determination to learn lessons from the users of earlier buildings that was to prove sadly unusual in the architectural history of a building type that combined to a high degree both functional requirements and cultural values.


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pp. 54-70
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