Welcome to the Northern Waters Library Network spotlight!

Did you know there are 29 libraries in our network? We are proud to showcase several of the libraries spanning the eight-county area and what makes each library unique. Every month a different library will be highlighting in this space. Check back at the beginning of each month to see a different library featured!


Eleanor Ellis Public Library (Phelps)
Director name:  

Kaye Petts

How old is your library?  

The library was founded in 1934

How many staff and/or volunteers are at your library?  

We have two staff and five volunteers

How has the pandemic affected your library?  

We have been offering material pickup via an outdoor locker system. We are very close to being back to pre-pandemic functioning. We have been open regular hours since August of 2021 for in-person pickup and drop off, as well as in-person programming for adults and children. Because of the pandemic we started offering more online programming, such as our Storytime recordings as well as a YouTube channel called Ellie’s Hometown Bookshelf to bring our library and community to our patrons online. One truth that stands out for me during all of this is just how much the public library is needed and loved.

Tell me about some of the services your library has to offer. 

We have Storytime with Ms. Laura the 2nd Tuesday of the month, the Next Chapter Book Club meets monthly as well as Write On Writer’s Group, which also meets monthly. We offer non-contact, 24/7 material pickup via our secure, outdoor locker system. Eleanor Ellis Homebound is a delivery and pick up service for patrons who cannot get out of their home for various reasons. We offer 24/7 Wi-Fi and digital services, faxing, scanning, etc. We have an ongoing free puzzle exchange, magazine exchange, free books, DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, and more in our entry hallway. We also have those extra added touches such as a coffee, tea and snack bar, a “Color a While” station for adults and children, a “Mind Works” station with Sudoku, crossword and word search puzzles. We are also in the process of building our “Library of Things,” which includes 2 Android pads, 2 lighted reading full-page magnifiers, a large hand held magnifier, portable DVD player, and Kindle, with more in the pipeline.

What is something special or unique about your library? 

I love our hometown, “on the lake” feel here. Our library is a very much loved and cherished hub and outreach to our community. We make an effort to stay connected to our School District, partnering in kid’s educational activities, as well as keeping a strong and active connection to the various town clubs such as the Phelps Women’s Club and Lion’s Club. We are also involved with the Phelps Chamber and are included in the whole town Quarterly Newsletter.

“When you walk into your library, it feels like comin’ home.” ~ recent patron quote

What is the coolest thing you’d show me on a tour of your library?  

Do you have any library news or other updates you’d like to share? 

Phelps Town is in the process of the planning stages of a new Community Center, in which the Eleanor Ellis Public Library will be included. There is no timeline yet, but the preliminary drawings have begun. We are looking forward to growing and adding to our already awesome public library.