Upper Post of Fort Snelling: Post Library

  • January 13, 2016

Libraries like the one located at the Upper Post of Fort Snelling were established by the American Red Cross (ARC) in thirty-two cantonments and National Guard training camps during World War I. These special buildings were erected by the American Red Cross and each of the libraries was under the control of a trained librarian. The libraries were designed to be 40×120 feet in size, one-story high, and accommodate eight to ten thousand books, newspapers, and magazines. The buildings were designed to include living quarters for the librarian.

The War Service Committee of the American Library Association raised nearly one-million dollars to purchase books for ARC libraries. In addition, the ARC asked volunteers to collect books and distribute them to cantonment libraries through their Books for Soldiers and Sailors program. Non-fiction books about war, travel, history, and biographies were the most popular. Libraries also carried fiction titles as well—short stories, detective yarns, and stories of sea and land adventures were favorites.

The American Red Cross library at Fort Snelling was constructed in 1917. It was half of the recommended size at just 20×61 feet, but still contained two reading rooms, offices, living quarters, and an open space for stacks of books and periodicals. It was heated by a stove and had electric lighting. 

The library building was demolished in the 1930s.

Fast Facts:
Commonly Known As: Post Library
Building Number: 10-E
Year built: 1917
Last year of occupancy: Unknown
Year demolished: 1930s
Square footage: 1,240
Floors: 1

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