The Mission of the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library is to inform, educate, and culturally enrich the entire multigenerational Cuyuna Lakes Community.

  • By offering a broad range of library materials and information services
  • By providing a helpful and knowledgeable staff with quality services and programs
  • By fostering positive social interactions and connectivity.
  • By encouraging and creating opportunities for  lifelong learning, knowledge through self-education, and the joy of reading

Hallett Library Credits Community Support

It takes a village to have and maintain a community Library. The Hallett Charitable Trusts sustain us with their generous operational support. The City of Crosby and its surrounding cities and townships also contribute financial support yearly. Along with tax-allocated funds for library services received from Crosby, the following cities give generously: Deerwood, Ironton, Cuyuna, and Riverton. The townships of Irondale and Wolford are also generous donators. We depend upon the support of the areas we serve. The monies received go towards the purchase of materials, programming, and services which go back directly to the residents in the Cuyuna Lakes region. We proudly partner with the entire population of school district #182 by providing e-book access to all students and their families. If your city or township is interested in contributing towards the sustainability of the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library (JFHML), a Library Board member would be happy to meet with you.

In addition to City & Township support, a multitude of entities provide funding for our annual Summer Reading Program. During 2017, the Library has received contributions for READING BY DESIGN from: Bay Lake Lions, Crosby Fire Relief Association, Crow Wing Power Community Trust, Cuyuna Firemen’s Relief Assn, Cuyuna Range Lions, Cuyuna Range Women’s Club, Deerwood Lakes Lions, JFHML Friends Foundation, Ironton Myrin-James American Legion and Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge. This year celebrates the 34th year of summer programming for K-6 graders. (Sign your child up in MAY for a FREE Reading by Design t-shirt.)

The JFHML Friends Foundation (the 501c-3 fundraising arm of the Library) consists of over 300 individuals and businesses who are advocates and fundraisers for the Library. This is a grassroots group, formed in 2011, to meet the future funding challenges of the JFHML. Since its inception, over $250,000 has been brought to the table by the members of the foundation, along with project grants from Bremer Trust, The Initiative Foundation and the Hallett Charitable Trusts. Examples of their impact can be seen by the yearly Jingle Books campaign for new reading materials, the successful Access For All e-books program, the electronic sign on the highway, IU2U (It’s Up to YOU!) teen mentorship project,  and the expanded Backstreet Bookstore and Le Connection internet café.

Our mission is to work to provide a broad range of Library materials and information, a helpful and knowledgeable staff, quality services and programming, a welcoming and safe environment to foster positive social interactions and connectivity, to encourage lifelong learning, and to promote the joy of reading.

Let us continue to work together to keep our Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library vibrant, sustaining and a vital component of our community. Your support is essential!

                                                                                   Peggi Beseres JFHML Head Librarian

Our excellent staff is ready to help and serve you. Please feel free to ask questions and remember that we cater to the curious!

  • Regular and large print books
  • iPads
  • 24/7 card catalog access
  • On-site used bookstore (Backstreet Books)
  • Coffee bar and Internet cafe
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Playaway Audios
  • e-Books
  • Internet Access (High Speed Cable & Wireless)
  • Computers with up-to-date software
  • Magazines
  • CD Audiobooks and Music CDs
  • DVDs
  • 2 Meeting/conference and study rooms
  • Copy machines
  • Newspaper microfilm and microfilm printer
  • Updated reference section
  • Hallett Herald – monthly newsletter
  • Book Page – monthly book review publication
  • AARP certified tax help: February – April
  • Curbside Teen Area with free laptop use
  • Leap Pads for Pre-schoolers

We also provide programming year round which includes:

  • Author Talks
  • Homebound Delivery Service
  • Pre-school Story Hour, Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m.
  • Elementary Summer Reading Program, July
  • Adult Book Club
  • “Hot Reads for Cold Nights”, January – March
  • “Sizzlin’ Thursdays” – February

In 1978, the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library became a reality through the generosity of E.W. Hallett. The Library was dedicated in memory of his beloved
wife, Jessie.

Born in Ottertail County on June 11, 1882, Ernest Wilbert Hallett amassed his fortune in paving contracts. On February 2, 1910, he took Jessie Barnard for his bride.

Upon settling in Crosby the couple eventually homesteaded east of town in what is now the Hallett House Bed and Breakfast. They also owned a summerhome on the northside of Serpent Lake. Two children were born to the Halletts, a son, Willis, born October 1, 1912, this child passed away at the age of 27. A second son, Charles, was born October 19, 1918, but he only survived a few weeks. Jessie died at 86 in 1976. Mr. Hallett was 101 when he died August 25, 1983.

Because of their love for the area and its people, and their generous nature, much of this community has the Halletts to thank. Our Hospital, Presbyterian Church and Library (including the 1992 expansion) were all made possible through Hallett’s gifts.  Looking around the town; the City Hall, The Hallett Community Center, and Hospital Heliport are a direct result of monies available through the Hallett Charitable Trust.  Each year over $47,000 in scholarship money is awarded to C-I high school seniors.

Jessie was a refined woman with a great love for children. She was very active in church and social activities. It was her inspiration that led to the delightful world of books available to all young Cuyuna Range library patrons.



Mr. Hallett was as Ernest as his namesake, believing in 4 golden rules:

  1. The easiest thing in the world is to be mistaken.
  2. First make sure you are right, then go ahead and stick with it.
  3. Always pay your bills promptly – take all cash discounts.
  4. Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

What a rich Heritage they have left us, two early pioneers of strength and character, a gift for all time.



Hallett Books For Sale at the Library
Remembering E.W and Jessie Hallett by Jeannine R. Schaub: $18
A Bit About The Life Of E.W. Hallett by E.W.Hallett: $8

The JFHML Library Board

  • Cathy Aykens, Board Chair
  • Mary Gaviglio
  • Seth Jackson
  • Jennifer Smith
  • Beth Hautala
  • Nick Huisinga
  • Michelle LeMieur

The library board meets the final Tuesday of each month, excluding July and December.  We are appreciative of our Board’s time, talents and support.

For more information about the Hallett Trusts, please go to:

Contact the board by email

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Hallett Library/JFHML Friends Foundation, please CLICK HERE

Credit card donations can be made for Memorials, Friends Memberships and Jingle Books campaign (during November/December)

How Can I Support the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library?
By a gift of your time as a volunteer, by donating materials, or by making a monetary donation

Download a Brochure and Gift Form HERE.

Hallett Volunteer Helpers: The Hallett Library Board and staff members realize that we have many civic-minded citizens who know that a good library is a vital part of our community. In light of this relationship, we encourage community members to volunteer their support and time by lending assistance.  A partial list of volunteer opportunities includes,

  • shelf reading
  • straightening book shelves
  • spring and fall yard work
  • reaching home bound patrons
  • dusting shelves
  • helping with recycling
  • book club readers
  • Summer Reading Program
  • Summer Story Hour reader
  • giving/helping wih programs
  • writing grants
  • serving on our library board
  • special projects, such as helping with flu shots, tax help, fundraising, etc.

Volunteers can provide the wide community base which is essential to the success if the library.  Please consider joining the Hallett Library Helpers.

Donating Materials:The JFHML is always happy to receive book donations by individuals. If we find the book suitable for shelf use (sturdy binding, not musty, not a duplicate, etc.), the material will be processed. If the book is not one that we can use, we explain that if there are no objections, the book will be placed for resale in our on-going book sale in the front entryway. With this understood, if any patron would like his or her book returned we are happy to comply. We also provide tax-gift receipts upon request. Text-style books and other materials are often sent to areas in need of up-to-date information. In the past many donated books have made their way to Africa, China and Haiti. Everyone benefits from the donation of recycled reading materials. Please keep in mind that we are unable to accept books which are damaged, wet or mildewed. We also accept items such as audio CDs, DVD, and Computers. Please contact the Library at 546-8005 before dropping materials. Thank you!

Monetary Donations: The Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library is grateful for the generosity and support of our patrons and friends of the Library. Inspired by a trip to the Grand Rapids Public Library, the Hallett Library is proud to feature our new DONATION BOX which is on display at the front entrance.

This box was donated by Greg Meller of Brainerd Glass. The C-I woodshop students of Mike Beseres donated the labor for the handmade book shelf. By your donation of money, time or materials the Hallett Library has been able to maintain its high standard of resources and services for the Cuyuna Lakes area.

Engraved Memorial Shelving at Library: The Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library has engraved memorial plates available for a timeless way to honor those who treasure books, reading and lifelong learning. With a $100 donation, the Library will place an engraved metal plaque on a book shelf, with a plaque naming the honoree/family, preceded by “In Honor of…” or “In Memory of…

When you enter Crosby’s Library you will presently over 100 such dedicated shelves.  If you are interested in utilizing this bookshelf tribute, please contact the Library at 218-546-8005.

The Hallett Library and JFHML Friends Foundation are continually finding ways to sustain the future of the Library for generations to come. We encourage and welcome all efforts to collaborate with those in our community willing to give of their time and talents.   Whether you fiscally support your local library, or whether you volunteer a few hours a week, the end result is a better library and a better sense of community.  By joining the Friends Foundation or buying a memorial plate in honor or memory of a loved one, you assure the growth and continuation of the finest in programming, technology and services. Become a Library Advocate today! For more information visit the Library website at

Download form here.

Annual Giving Donations: Many of our patrons generously give to the Hallett Library with annual donations which are used to purchase new materials, update technology, and provide services and programs to those we serve.

Memorial Gifts: Along with the $100 Memorial Shelf Plaques, memorial gifts are always welcome in memory of loved ones.  We can work together with the family to come up with a fitting memorial gift.  Past ideas include, artwork, designated areas, book collections, shelving or display units, and program support.

Tributes of Honor: Remember someone’s birthday, anniversary, or “just because” event in a special way with a $25 donation.  The library will purchase a book recommended by the giver and place an “In Honor Of” nameplate inside the cover.  If no specific title is given, please specify child, adult, large print, fiction, or non-fiction.

Planned Giving: Please keep the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library in mind when preparing will and estate distributions gifts to leave a legacy for future generations.

Non-Resident Fees: The JFHML is not a part of a regional library system.  We are an independent public library funded by the generosity of the Hallett Trust, local city and township support, and donations from the community.  We serve the school district which includes the cities of Crosby, Ironton, Deerwood, Emily, Merrifield, Bay Lake, Riverton, and Cuyuna.  For those residing outside of the district, we offer yearly non-resident patron privileges for an annual $20 fee, renewable each September.

National Library Week is celebrated nationally April 9-15 with the theme: LIBRARIES TRANSFORM. We have a lot to celebrate with our own Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library (JFHML). Learn more about your Library:

  • The JFHML is an independent public Library, built in 1978 by Mr. EW Hallett and given to the community as a living memorial to his beloved wife, Jessie.
  • The JFHML serves the residents of the Crosby Ironton school district #182, a population of 10,000+. Currently there are approximately 4200 active card holders. If a person lives outside of the school district, they may have access to the JFHML collection by purchasing a library card for a $20 yearly fee.
  • The JFHML is governed by a seven-member Library Board. The Board oversees the policies, financials and operations of the Library according to MN State Statutes 134 for public libraries. The City Council approves all Library board appointments.
  • According to the recently completed audit of 2016, conducted by Clifton Larson Allen, the JFHML was in the BLACK $5100.00 at the end of the fiscal year. The Library brought in $217, 937 in revenues and had expenditures of $212, 830. The Library board sees to it that a $90,000 reserve fund is maintained.
  • Funds to sustain the Library come from three main sources: The Hallett Charitable Trust, the City of Crosby and donations by neighboring cities, townships, organizations and the JFHML Friends Foundation. Each year funds are brought in and spent down.
  • Each year the Hallett Trustees generously grant the Library $155,000 for operating costs, the City of Crosby contributes $20,000 in tax levied funds, and the remainder raised is a combination of funds from the JFHML Friends Foundation, area cities & townships, local businesses & organizations, partnership with the C-I school district for e-books, and various grant opportunities.
  • Each year the Library Board requests funding support from all area cities and townships within the service area of the JFHML.

The JFHML Board, Staff and Volunteer Friends are passionate about all the JFHML offers to the community. Their reputation for fiscal responsibility and problem-solving, partnerships and innovation are what keep the Jessie F. Hallett Memorial Library a sustainable entity and an enviable model of excellence on the Cuyuna Range.

In 2018 the JFHML will celebrate its 40th year of service.