Even during the somewhat slower days of summer, Rondo Community Library was busy, and now that school is back in session, it’s buzzing with activity. Books are a big attraction, of course, but the library has much more than books.
The staff is friendly, competent and efficient, checking books in and out, explaining due dates and library cards, and directing the flow of traffic to the electronic classroom, the “Swamp” homework room, the dozens of computers (almost all occupied, almost all the time) and, of course, the shelves filled with books and CDs and DVDs. (If you are wondering what the Swamp is, it’s an acronym for the School Work and Mentoring Place.)
I admit, I haven’t been at Rondo Community Library at all hours, but I see it often in the afternoon and evening hours, and this is one well-used library. The underground parking (cool in the summer, warm in the winter) helps to make this library an attractive place for community meetings, including our weekly writers’ group (Mondays at 4 p.m.) Rondo is open seven days a week.
More people come through Rondo’s doors than at any other library in St. Paul. In the relatively slow month of July, Rondo’s “gate count” was 40,377, compared to an average gate count for the other larger libraries (Central, Highland, Rice Street, Sun Ray) of 24,259. Rondo’s internet usage is also the highest in St. Paul’s library system, at least 50 percent higher than usage at larger libraries in the system, according to Sheree Savage, Community and Digital Services Manager for St. Paul Public Library. (St. Paul has 13 libraries and the Bookmobile.)
Mon – Thu: 10 am – 9 pm
Minnesota Literacy Council English classes for adults, Mondays-Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., with registration for new students on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. ($10 fee). For more information, call Erica Finken at 651-266-7421.
English conversation circle to practice speaking English – 10:30-12 on Saturdays (free).
Specialized resources at Rondo include the business resource center, assistive technology, a computer classroom, adult English classes offered through the Minnesota Literacy Council, homework help and tutoring in “The Swamp,” and much more. According to a staff member, people see the library as a safe place to come. They see neighbors, socialize, read, study, use the computer, do homework, go to meetings, and learn English.
Other special resources, according to Rondo’s website, include:
A wide variety of materials about and related to African and African American history and culture, including biographies, poetry, cookbooks, audiovisual materials, and reference books.
A collection of materials selected to support the critical needs of battered women. These materials, housed in a quiet area of the Rondo Library, allow persons who wish to read in this subject area to do so in relative privacy. For further information, call 651-266-7425.
St. Paul Public Library’s largest collections of GED, English as a Second Language, Citizenship Study Materials, and World Languages … and South-East Asian History/Culture collections, as well as a diverse collection reflecting the neighborhood.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.