The Decorah Public Library is an all-encompassing resource center providing materials and programs for the leisure, entertainment and the life-long learning of the citizens of Decorah and the Winneshiek County area. The library capitalizes on opportunities to develop and provide innovative services to the public.


Director's Photo

Kristin Torresdal

Kristin became the Director of Decorah Public Library in July 2017, after having served as the Library’s Administrative Coordinator since 2005.

A Decorah native and lifelong library patron, Torresdal has nearly 20 years of experience working in libraries and has also completed Level V library director certification through the State Library of Iowa. Rumor has it that she was also winner of the Decorah Public Library 1991 summer reading program grand prize.

Torresdal said “I’m excited to work with the Board of Trustees, staff, and the Friends of the Library to expand and enhance our programs, services, and collections- and to ensure that the Library continues to be a thriving, vibrant organization at the very heart of our community.”

Contact Kristin @ 563.382.3717 or ktorresdal@decorahlibrary.org


The history of Decorah Public Library dates back to 1892 and the Columbian club (study club) at the Unitarian Church. The Columbian Club was responsible for the collection until October 28, 1893 when the Public Library Association was formed. The first library housed 69 books, rent free, in the Marsh Music Store located on Water Street. Over the years the Decorah Public Library was housed in a number of locations including the Winneshiek County Courthouse basement.

The Library held fundraisers and lobbied for tax-based support with the help of the Monday Club (a local women's study club) . After 2 defeats, the city voted in favor of a tax levy of $500,000 to support the library and at that time it became a city-directed institution.

For a number of years the Decorah Public Library was located on the northeast corner of Main Street and Winnebago Street. In 1964, the library moved across the street to the renovated former U.S. Post Office located at 202 Winnebago. In 1997, an addition was added to the east side of the building with ribbon cutting held on November 2, 1997.

Information courtesy of the Winneshiek County Historical Society. Used with permission.