“To my mother, reading was like breathing”

Mary Bell Neuman
Rose typing the library shelf list in her home circa 1983

Rose H. Bell was a lifetime supporter of reading and library learning. Bell was a proud visitor of Lanesboro’s library even when it consisted of only two cabinets in the women’s lounge of City Hall. Starting in 1955, Bell taught English at Lanesboro Public Schools. She served there for 24 years, inspiring even the least interested students to pick up a book. In 1979, she used the Dewey decimal system to catalogue nearly 7,000 books in the library that had been previously unrecorded. In 1999, Bell was nominated to be on the American Library Association’s National Advocacy Honor Roll as one of the 20th century’s best Minnesota library advocates. She was a member of the Lanesboro Public Library Board for over fifty years.

Rose H. Bell Buy a Book Fund

The Rose H. Bell Buy a Book Fund, a tribute to Bell from her children after 80 years of sharing her passion for reading, was created in 1995. The fund is used by Lanesboro Public Library to buy new books for circulation as well as replace books that are damaged after a large amount of wear and tear. As of 2016, the fund has also funded access to E-books via OverDrive. The fund has raised $5,800, providing the library with 850 books, about 6% of all books on circulation. Contributions to the fund can be made at the library or sent to Lanesboro Public Library c/o the Rose H. Bell Buy a Book Fund.

“She searched for common ground, even with those kids whose idea of great literature was the latest comic book from the drug store”

Carol Pearson

Rose H. Bell Room

In January of 2012, the Lanesboro Public Library underwent some major renovations, including new paint, new carpet, the addition of a flat screen TV. Perhaps the most noteworthy change was the dedication of a back room in the library as the Rose H. Bell Room. The room used to be used as a meeting space, but at this time was changed into a children’s area to celebrate Bell’s lifelong dedication to teaching children about reading.

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