About Us

Our Mission:

Our Public Library:  

Creatively serving the community with

diverse resources and learning opportunities. 


About Us:

The Maud Preston Palenske Memorial Library  is a class IV library located in St. Joseph, MI.  We are a City library formed by City Charter contracting with St. Joseph Charter Township to provide services for about 18,000 people.   We have reciprocal borrowing agreements with most Berrien County libraries.  We house approximately 100,000 items including fiction, non-fiction, audio-visual materials, periodicals and children's materials.   We maintain a local history room and computer labs.   We provide free, educational programming as well as meeting room space to our community.   



The city's first library was formed in 1893, and was in a school.   In January of 1903, the city council pledged to furnish a suitable site for a library and to provide a sum of $12,500 annually to support it.   In response to this pledge,  Andrew Carnegie gave the city $13,000 to build the original building that opened on November 11th, 1904.  It sat at the corner of Main and Elm Street, and today is the home of Allegretti Architects, Inc.   Although the Carnegie Library served the community well for many years, space was limited and it became obvious that a new library would be needed.

We were able to move to our current location in 1966, due to a generous donation by Mr. Fred C. Palenske.  The gift was a memorial for his wife, Maud Preston Palenske who died on June 10, 1959.  It is also in honor of her family.   The Preston family played a leading role in developing St. Joseph from a village to a city.  Find out more about the Palenske Family here.   The library sits on the site of the former J. Ogden Wells home, and was dedicated on September 23rd, 1966.   At his death in 1970,  Mr. Palenske provided an additional $175,000 fo rthe library.  He specified that the money be used as a part or all of the cost of constructing, equipping, and furnishing a new addition.    The structure was completed in August of 1981 and dedicated on February 7th, 1982. 

Mr. and Mrs. A. Edward Brown donated the land and the funds for the development of the garden south of the library in memory of Mr. Brown's father and mother, Arthur I. and Mary E. Brown.   Mr and Mrs. Brown supervised the landscaping of the garden.    The Brown family continues to support the library garden to this day. 

More recently in 2016, a renovation has been completed in the library, including new paint and flooring throughout the building.  The auditorium was renamed the Felland Auditorium in honor of a generous donation towards the library flooring. 



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