The Marine Community Library is a unique collaboration between the city of Marine on St. Croix, Washington County, and the Marine Library Association (MarLA).

What is the role of the city?

The city of Marine provides space in the town hall, internet access, and electricity.

What is the role of the county?

Washington County provides a browsing collection of 2,000 books, which will be updated periodically. The county also provides access to the county library system.
If you have a Washington County library card, you can use the county system to:

  • Check out or return any Washington County Library books at any library in the county
  • Reserve and request books from other libraries in Washington County, as well as the Melsa and MNLink systems

Washington County also provides the bank of lockers and kiosk to the north of the building where you can request and retrieve books anytime, any day of the week.

What is the role of MarLA?

There are no employees of the library. Instead, staffing is provided entirely by volunteers. MarLA coordinates the volunteer shifts during open hours, as well as the volunteers needed for programs, special events, and library maintenance. In addition, MarLA maintains this library web site and periodically accepts book and media donations for a permanent collection and a paperback collection. Marla also sustains all operating expenses outside of the city and county commitments.

Who oversees the library?

The library is legally a city library featuring a collection and connection to the county. Marine Library Association operates the library for the city. Decisions about library operations (other than the County's browsing collection) are made by the City of Marine and the Marine Library Association board.


How long has there been a library in Marine?

Although the Marine Library Association was formed in 1878, there was no public library space in Marine on St. Croix until July 1968, when the Marine Branch Library, part of the Washington County Library System, was opened. The first librarian, Grace Grady, had advocated with a group of citizens for a local library. She continued as the librarian until October 1985.

Grace was an avid reader who knew her audience, often recommending mysteries, novels, children’s books, and non-fiction to library patrons. True to the sign on her desk – “Absolutely No Silence” – Grace encouraged visitors to discuss books and village life.

In 2011 it appeared likely that Washington County would close the Marine Library due to financial constraints. The Marine Library Association was reestablished as a Library Friends group. The Marine Community Library is the collaborative result of the efforts by citizens, the city council, and the county.

How long will there continue to be a library in Marine?

The answer to that depends greatly on the volunteers who are donating their time and skills, as well as financial support from the community. Find out how you can help.

What's happening with the Jordan Bequest?

The Jordan Bequest was left to Washington County by Elizabeth Jordan in 2001 for the benefit of the Marine Library. Requests to draw on the bequest must be approved by the City of Marine who would then take that request to Washington County for consideration. Washington County is legally responsible to oversee and administer the funds of the bequest.