MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In many communities, the library is more than a place to check out books. It’s a place to do homework, visit with friends, or discover a love of reading.

And for that, all libraries are great. But we wanted to find Minnesota’s very best.

Your votes sent me about an hour southwest of the cities to the Le Sueur Public Library.

And the thing that sets the Le Sueur Public Library apart isn’t its collection or its architecture, but its librarian, Dianne Pinney.

“With the kids, she’s just…it’s like magic with the kids,” said Joe Roby, who frequents the library.

Pinney has been reading to Le Sueur’s children since 1981. And in 33 years, her passion hasn’t dimmed a whit.

“She instills a love of reading in kids from such a young age,” Roby said. “And then, they keep it.”

The librarian’s enthusiasm for books is so infectious that it’s inspired more than a few to follow in her footsteps.

“I have three young women, happen to be women, who are now librarians, who were summer reading program kids, and then I just found out that two more are going to library school,” Pinney said.

And it all starts with storytime, and kids who’ve come just to listen to Pinney.

“I think that the kids know that she is glad that they are there, that this is not just a job, but this is really her mission in life,” said Bob Broeder, the mayor of Le Sueur.

Pinney is quick to point out this couldn’t happen just anywhere. Le Sueur has a passionate Friends of the Library program that helped with the library expansion 12 years ago.

“They have funneled thousands and thousands of dollars into this building,” she said.

But when the library opened, a plaque bearing Pinney’s name also went up in the children’s reading room.

“It means a lot to me, not because my name is on it, but what it says,” Pinney said. “It says it’s there because of my interest in children and reading. And that’s my life. This is my life.”

In the 109 years of the Le Sueur Public Library’s existence, Pinney is just the seventh person to serve as librarian.

Matt Brickman


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