Collected Voices: 30 Years of Quatrefoil Library

Collected Voices: 30 Years of Quatrefoil Library
June 24, 2016 – October 16, 2016

Launched in the 1980s by the book-loving couple Dick Hewetson and David Irwin, Quatrefoil Library in Minneapolis has grown to become the country’s second-largest LGBT lending library, with a searchable catalog of more than 30,000 books, periodicals and DVDs, more than half of them circulating.

Run entirely by volunteers, Quatrefoil is open seven days a week at its 3,000-square-foot location at E. Lake St. and 13th Av. S. Its members checked out more than 3,400 items last year, and thousands visited the library to browse, join book clubs and attend events. The library’s popular annual used-book sale on Pride weekend in June benefits the library’s ongoing operational expenses.

Quatrefoil opened in north Minneapolis in 1986, and moved to St. Paul in 1987, where it remained until moving to its current 3,000-square-feet space in 2013.

Along with the archival Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection at the University of Minnesota, Quatrefoil makes the Twin Cities a center for LGBT books and history, rivaling much larger cities, including New York and San Francisco. Only one LGBT lending library, in Chicago, has a larger circulating collection.

Dedicated volunteers and veteran board members can tell the story of Quatrefoil and its value to people who are coming out, those doing research, or just avid readers with an ongoing interest in LGBT issues, culture, literature and history.