James J. Hill Library. Photo: Payton Chung

The Saint Paul Public Library traces its earliest beginnings to 1856 when the newly formed Young Men’s Christian Association opened a reading room. The following year, both the Saint Paul Library Association and the Mercantile Library Association were organized. These early efforts merged in 1863 into the Saint Paul Library Association.

In 1879, under the leadership of Alexander Ramsey (who had served as mayor, governor, U.S. senator, and U.S. Secretary of War), the library association proposed that the city accept responsibility for its collections and establish it as a free public library. Finally, on September 7, 1882, the city council approved an appropriation of $5,000 to establish the Saint Paul Public Library. By this date, the collection had grown to include 8,051 books.

Another milestone for the library came in 1945 with the establishment of the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library. Through the years, the Friends has grown to become a key partner with the city in the provision of library service, through fundraising, programming, and advocacy. The Friends is now nationally recognized as one of the best library support organizations in the nation. Today, the Saint Paul Public Library system consists of the downtown Central Library, 12 branches, and a bookmobile.

The Saint Paul Library system is an information resource for everyone from children doing homework to adults reading their favorite periodicals on a leisurely afternoon. Offering literary, historical, and cultural events, the City of Saint Paul and the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library provide learning opportunities for eager minds. Library buildings are a calm, safe environment, and all entries are handicap-accessible. The following is a list of locations and hours. For further information, visit the Saint Paul Public Library.


Library Monday TuesdayWednesday Thursday Friday SaturdaySunday
Arlington Hills
1200 Payne Ave
10am-8pm10am-8pm10am-8pm10am-8pm10am-5:30pm10am- 5:30pm1-5pm
Dayton’s Bluff
645 E 7th St
12-8pm10am-8pm12-8pm10am-8pm10am-5:30pm11:30am- 5pm1-5pm
George Latimer Central Library
90 W 4th St
12-8pm9am- 5:30pm9am- 5:30pm9am- 5:30pm9am- 5:30pm11am- 5pm1-5pm
Hamline Midway
1558 W Minnehaha
12-8pm10am- 8pm12-8pm10am- 8pm10am- 5:30pm11:30am- 5pmCLOSED
Hayden Heights
1456 White Bear Ave
12-8pm10am-8pm12-8pm10am-8pm10am- 5:30pm11:30am- 5pmCLOSED
Highland Park
1974 Ford Pkwy
Merriam Park
1831 Marshall Ave
12-8pm10am-8pm12-8pm10am-8pm10am- 5:30pm11:30am-5pm1-5pm
Rice Street
1011 Rice St
12-8pm10am-8pm12-8pm10am-8pm10am- 5:30pm11:30am- 5pm1-5pm
1 East George St
12-8pm10am-8pm12-8pm10am-8pm10am- 5:30pm11:30am- 5pmCLOSED
461 N Dale St
Saint Anthony
2245 Como Ave
Sun Ray
2105 Wilson Ave
West Seventh
265 Oneida St