BEST LIBRARY Minneapolis 2003 - James J. Hill Library
Perched on the corner of quaint Rice Park, this gray marble building at first seems stark and imposing. But once you step inside the main reading room, oh, the rapture. Six stories high, the expansive room is lined floor to ceiling with books, creating an ambience nothing short of awesome. Founded in 1921, the library was the vision of James J. Hill, the "Empire Builder," one of the nation's foremost business leaders in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Attributing his own success to information--the great equalizer--Hill wanted to leave as his legacy a place where a wide body of business information would be publicly available in order to help people succeed regardless of their means. The world-class collection has grown to include more than 200,000 books, magazines, journals, and newsletters from a vast array of industries. Beyond that, the library houses the James J. Hill, Louis W. Hill, and Reed/Hyde manuscripts, whose more than five million documents make up one of the country's premier business archives. All this in an elegant, architecturally stunning atmosphere, filled with stately columns and antique furnishings. The Italian Renaissance-style building--which is also home to the neighboring St. Paul Public Library--is on the National Register of Historic Places. Open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The library is also available for rental as an unforgettable venue for weddings and special events.