marine library association

The Marine Library Association (MarLA) is a nonprofit all-volunteer organization that manages the Marine Community Library in partnership with the City of Marine on St. Croix and the Washington County Library.

MarLA secures and coordinates volunteers, hosts programs and events, selects new books and media, handles communications, and raises funds for the library.

More information about the partnerships and the roles of MarLA, the City of Marine on St. Croix and the Washington County Library can be found at Our Partnerships.

View the MarLA 2022 Annual Report.


According to James Taylor Dunn, who was a longtime summer resident of Marine on St. Croix and an historian, the Marine Library Association was formed in 1878 as a membership organization. It lasted two years.

Fast forward 131 years to 2011, when the Marine Branch of the Washington County Library was in danger of closing. Residents from Marine on St. Croix, Scandia and May Township joined together to figure out a way to keep the library open. They knew the library was not only a venue for discovering and reading books, but also a great place to connect with neighbors and fellow book lovers.

The residents decided to reestablish the Marine Library Association as a Library Friends group. The Library Friends group formally incorporated as the Marine Library Association and received its nonprofit designation from the IRS in 2011.

powered by our volunteers

MarLA and the Marine Community Library are run ENTIRELY by volunteers. There is no paid staff. All libraries rely on volunteers and “Friends” groups, but we are uniquely self-driven. Currently over 60 volunteers are doing their part to keep the library doors open and the many library programs running smoothly. This model has worked resoundingly well for ten years and counting.

MarLA consists of a board and several committees, offering a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. More information on the board and the committees is available below.

Staffing Volunteers

A large number of volunteers staff the Marine Community Library. Two volunteers staff the library during each three hour shift. A lead volunteer is responsible for opening and closing and serves as a liaison when technical problems arise. Other tasks are shared between the two volunteers.

Volunteer responsibilities include: checking in and shelving returned items, checking out materials, light cleaning at the end of the shift, answering questions, and providing help with software and the catalog.

Each volunteer attends an initial training session, and all volunteers are encouraged to take part in periodic update training. Volunteers are asked to sign up for two shifts each month, but this is flexible. Volunteer shifts are coordinated through

Other Volunteer Opportunities

Other opportunities include assisting with adult or children’s programs and events, fundraising, serving on the board, community education, storytimes, book clubs, and more.

Volunteering at the library is a great way to give back to the community and a wonderful way to meet people. Please consider volunteering at the Marine Community Library! If interested, please contact us at

marla board

A volunteer board manages library operations and finances, and oversees the work of various committees who execute the functions of the library. Currently, the board is self-nominating. Anyone who lives in Marine on Saint Croix, Scandia, May Township or the area, and who has a passion for Marine Community Library’s work, may apply to the board through a current board member. Each candidate will be vetted by a board member and nominated to be approved by the entire board. Members serve up to two consecutive three-year terms. After a minimum of a one-year break in service, a candidate may reapply to the board. Many board member candidates come through serving on a committee.

The Library Board is always looking for members who live throughout the community, of varying ages and interests, to ensure diversity.

marla committees

Collections – Maintain quality, contemporary collection. Cull books periodically to manage shelf space. Includes books sales and disposal of books.

Adult Programming – Offer engaging community-building programs to educate adult patrons and event attendees. Specifically, the committee will generate a list of possible speakers and events and evaluate based on criteria including: calendar, timing/pacing, seasonality, topic variety. Also vet and coordinate featured artist displays in the Library space.

Children’s Programming – Offer creative and quality programs for children of all ages which enhance learning and usage of the library, including reading hours and summer camp.

Communications – Manage the library’s communications through its website, email mailings, event posters, local newspaper and other event listings; assist with all communications coming from the library.

Operations – Oversee the library shift volunteers, provide training, scheduling, recruitment. Maintain the facility space.

Finance – Provide checks and balances of financial activities, coordinate annual giving campaign and pursue other fundraising opportunities such as grants and awards. Provide endowment giving education to interested donors.

Outreach – Identify, prioritize and manage library community outreach opportunities, as well as educational partnerships related to our Land Acknowledgement Statement.

Strategic Planning – Lead and coordinate community strategic planning conversations every five years. Direct ongoing data measurement of committee deliverables to the goals and objectives of the strategic plan.

YOU can join any of these committees! Please contact us at and someone will get back to you about the next committee meeting.

fundraising and donations

Although the Marine Community Library is a collaborative effort that includes MarLA, the city of Marine on St. Croix, and Washington County, MarLA sustains all operating expenses outside of the City and County contributions.

Operating expenses include:

  • Permanent book collection
  • Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
  • Programming and events
  • Marine Community Library collection software
  • Volunteer scheduling website
  • Furnishings and paint
  • Cleaning services
  • Various administrative materials

Make an Annual Contribution

All donations to the Marine Community Library must go through MarLA. MarLA is a Minnesota 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and all donations are tax deductible.

Donate Online

Click HERE to donate online with a credit or debit card, or via PayPal.

Or, Donate by Mail

Please make your check payable to Marine Library Association and mail it to:
Marine Library Association
PO Box 85
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

We will send you a receipt of your donation. Please note if you want your contribution to be anonymous.

You can request a budget by emailing

Consider an Endowment Gift

The Marine Community Library Endowment Fund of the St. Croix Valley Foundation can accept a wide range of gifts, including stock, real estate and other non-cash gifts. Are you finding that you don’t need your retirement savings as much as you once thought? If you are 70 ½ or older, you can make a tax-free qualified charitable distribution from your IRA to our fund.

However you choose to give, your support will help ensure that the Marine Community Library is here for our community for generations to come.

For more information about making a non-cash gift, contact Heather Logelin, President & CEO of the St. Croix Valley Foundation at 716-386-9490 or

Or, Donate by Mail

Please make your endowment gift check payable to Marine Library Association, indicating “ENDOWMENT” on the memo line and mail it to

Marine Library Association
PO Box 85
Marine on St. Croix, MN 55047

We will send you a receipt of your endowment donation. Please note if you wish your contribution to be anonymous.

Thank you for making a difference in our community!

board members

Lynn Bjorkman, President
Laurie Schmidt, Vice President
Janice Hunton, Secretary
Kathy Trombly-Ferrin, Treasurer
Molly Arnason
Deb Yanker Black
Mary Burke
Elaine Larson
Annie Minich
Kathy Scoggin
Debra Mitts Smith
Addie Smitten, Student Rep

Email the board at

All board meetings are open to the public. They are typically held the third Monday evening of every other month.

board meeting minutes

Minutes of February 12, 2024
Minutes of December 18, 2023
Minutes of October 16, 2023
Minutes of August 21, 2023
Minutes of June 26, 2023
Minutes of April 17, 2023
Minutes of February 20, 2023
Minutes of December 19, 2022
Minutes of October 17, 2022
Minutes of August 15, 2022
Minutes of June 20, 2022
Minutes of April 18, 2022
Minutes of February 21, 2022

our mission statement

The mission of the Marine Library Association is to improve the education and literacy of Minnesota residents living in or near the communities of Marine on St Croix, Scandia and May Township; and by providing library and related services to those residents primarily through the Marine Library. All funds, whether income or principal, and whether acquired by gift, grant, contribution or otherwise, shall be devoted to these purposes.