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Yesterday (Thursday, March 11th), the Rochester Public Library launched "Library Express," giving you a chance to get in there, browse, borrow, or use the internet for 30 minutes a day!

Library Director Audrey Betcher says they want so badly to open the library all the way, but also need to keep everyone safe.

“Pre-pandemic we were accustomed to a bustling library, with hundreds of visitors using our services at the same time during peak hours. To protect staff and visitors, we know we need to limit our capacity...”

Library Express 1- Tables and chairs, which once lined the library’s upper level, have been removed ahead of opening for Library Express. With COVID-19, the library is unable to accommodate pre-pandemic activities like gathering and group work. (RPL)

She also says play areas, toys, the Art Room, and other spaces or activities, that don't allow for social distancing, are not yet available, but, "We will bring those back when it's safe to do so...Right now we're focusing on the most requested, safest activities, including browsing, borrowing, and using the internet."

For more information about Library Express, call 507-328-2300 during virtual hours or visit


Popular items and services, such as the Art Room and toys, will not be available with Library Express. (RPL)
  • Library Express: Thursday-Sunday, 10AM-6PM. Visitors are allowed up to 30 minutes/day. No appointment necessary, but space is limited.
  • Walkup Windows: Monday-Sunday, 10AM-6PM (Thursdays until 8PM). Pick up library holds, after receiving a notification they are ready.
  • Ask Us Virtual Help: Monday-Sunday, 10AM-6PM. Talk to a library teammate through phone, email, or chat.
  • Bookmobile Service: view online schedule at Pick up library holds.

As always, if you have a comment, complaint, or concern about something I wrote here, please let me know:

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It's hard to believe the current Rochester Public Library opened in 1995. Before that they were in the former JCPenney building, in Downtown, Rochester, where Broadway Plaza is now. You can see RPL's history, with pictures here. If you want to own your OWN library, there's one in Zumbrota that just might be perfect...

LOOK: Historic Former Library in Zumbrota for Sale for Less than $200,000