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Learn how one couple’s gift to the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library will support youth and their families for years to come.

Public libraries have been essential to our communities for more than a century, often serving as a safe and welcoming space for education, resources, entertainment and fun for people of all ages. The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library (The Friends) is working to ensure that libraries are around for generations to come.

“Reading for pleasure takes us to other worlds, while reading for information helps us understand stories other than our own,” said Beth Burns, president of The Friends. “And at the heart of that, libraries exist to connect people to information, each other and to programs and services that are going to help them achieve their goals in this world.”

Since 1945, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library has invested in public libraries in Saint Paul through fundraising, advocacy and programming. As a nonprofit, it works closely with donors interested in strengthening libraries and finding ways for them to continue to thrive.

Two donors who understood the importance of public libraries were Scott and Kathy Heiderich. For 52 years, they both worked for the Saint Paul Public Library; Scott as a building engineer and Kathy as a librarian and branch manager.

“Scott and Kathy were incredible advocates for The Friends and for the library,” said Liz Boyd, director of special events and donor relations. “They gave thousands of dollars over the years, and Scott would share ideas and thoughts on what we could do to be a better support system for the libraries.”

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Inspired to Make a Difference?

Here are three ways you can support your local public libraries:

  1. Visit. Libraries have evolved today, and books are just the beginning. They offer resources like recording studios, sewing and 3D printing. Not to mention, they’re free.
  2. Support. Consider supporting your library with a financial gift, whether through a donor advised fund, annual gift or as a part of your estate plan.
  3. Advocate. Raise your voice on behalf of your local public library. Support causes and policies that promote the advancement of libraries and the people they serve.

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Corner Conversations feature individuals and nonprofits driving change in the East Metro and beyond by highlighting their work in connection to current topics and issues facing our communities and state.

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