Newest Dakota County Library branch opens in South St. Paul

Kaposia Library, the tenth and newest branch of the Dakota County Library system, opened Tuesday in South St. Paul with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that included the performance of a traditional Dakota song, sung to honor both the land and the ancestors who lived there.

Andy Vig, a member of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and director of the tribe's cultural center, Hocokata Ti, welcomed visitors to the library in the Dakota language.

"To showcase our language — it just doesn't get any better than that," Vig said.

The library's name, Kaposia, refers to the Shakopee Mdewakanton's seasonal village on the banks of the Mississippi River near current-day St. Paul and South St. Paul.

Dozens of people milled about the library Tuesday, eating cookies and checking out the library's new features, including an interactive children's area, a quiet space with a fireplace and a 3-D printer.

"It's just really exciting to finally get this library open," said Margaret Stone, director of Dakota County libraries, at the ribbon-cutting. "Libraries are about community."

The new county-run library, located near the South St. Paul Secondary school, replaces the previous library, which was one of just a few in the metro run by a city. It was beloved by many community members, but after a lengthy community debate, leaders decided it lacked the space, amenities and accessibility a new building could offer.

South St. Paul City Council Member Todd Podgorski said he liked the 16,000-square-foot library's open layout and abundance of light. The 3-D printer and the conference and study rooms were also nice, he said.

Daisy Medina Cuenca, a cultural liaison at the Kaposia Learning Center, said she believes teens from the middle and high school will use the new library after school is out.

"It's interesting to see how many updates they have," she said.

Library staff handed out blue stickers and pins with a picture of the new library on them at the circulation desk.

Parent Robyn Goodell said she was excited to have a new spot to bring her young children for story time as her fiancé, Sam, and child, Lucy, played with wooden panels that open and close near the children's area.