Access, accommodations are offered at new Dakota County Library

The new Kaposia Library in South St. Paul joined the Dakota County Library system with a grand opening in February that […]

Image of library.

The new Kaposia Library in South St. Paul joined the Dakota County Library system with a grand opening in February that showcased the building’s many modern features and inviting design. 

Dakota County leaders, federal lawmakers and local officials pointed to the library’s importance as a place for learning and for gathering. It is the county’s most accessible and inclusive library. 

Library services have expanded beyond traditional books and research work. Technology has changed and broadened the services that are available, Dakota County Library Director Margaret Stone said. 

“What we’re also seeing is as communities change, communities need libraries for other reasons — it’s the space in the building that people are looking for now,” Stone said, calling the library a community hub for social, educational and work gatherings. 

One highlight of the new library is accessibility. It is 16,000 square feet on one floor, improving access for all users. It also has a calming room for people who need a comforting space while visiting, and a fully accessible entrance. 

Other features include an interactive children’s area with a light display, activity wall and other learning resources; multiple study rooms and meeting spaces to accommodate groups of different sizes and iLab creative space equipment, including a 3D printer. 

The library also has a Quiet Zone, which celebrates South St. Paul history and features mosaic art and a fireplace. Outside, users will find an outdoor reading space, a pollinator-friendly garden, on-site parking, including EV charging stations and a bike rack. 

The $11.4 million project was paid for mostly with the county’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funding approved during the pandemic. 

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar applauded Dakota County and cities like South St. Paul for meeting the community’s needs. 

“Every time a kid reads a new book or gets interested in reading and gets off their phone and actually learns new things, you’ve got to remember that’s our purpose as citizens — to continue this tradition and pass on this torch of learning,” Klobuchar said. 
U.S. Rep. Angie Craig thanked city and county leaders for supporting public libraries, especially for children in the community. She recalled attending the Kaposia Library groundbreaking in 2022. 

“Now, we are standing in a world-class facility for the citizens of South St. Paul,” Craig said. 

Kaposia Library is the 10th location in the Dakota County Library system and the county’s first new library in 15 years. 

The library project was championed by Kathleen A. Gaylord, a former Dakota County commissioner and South St. Paul mayor. Dakota County Board Chair Joe Atkins recognized Gaylord, South St. Paul Mayor Jimmy Francis and city council members for their years-long pursuit of a new library, along with support from South St. Paul Public Schools. 

The former South St. Paul Library building dated to 1927 and while it was well-used and much-loved, access was a challenge. The city approached Dakota County in 2020 with a proposal to stop operating its city-run library and join the county library system. 

The name Kaposia honors the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their seasonal village along the Mississippi River in the area of South St. Paul and St. Paul. The library features a translated description of the Kaposia name in Dakota and English. 

“To showcase our language — it just doesn’t get any better than that,” said Andy Vig, director of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s culture exhibit. The tribal community assisted with the Kaposia translation. 

The Kaposia Library is open Monday–Wednesday from noon–8 p.m., Thursday–Saturday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and closed on Sundays. Learn more at Dakota County Libraries

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