Librarian leaves $646K for Hennepin County Library

Good news for book lovers — a former librarian has left $646,000 in her will for the Hennepin County Library.

The gift from the estate of Lillian Wallis was announced Monday. To put the amount in context, the library’s operating budget is $69 million this year. Library officials said it’s the largest gift they’ve received in years.

From all accounts, Wallis led an adventure-filled life. The Star Tribune tells the story here.

She attended the opera in Sydney, went up the Amazon River in a dugout canoe, flew to Audubon birding camps and participated in countless Elderhostel programs. Never married, she lived simply in a Nicollet Mall condo that helped her maintain a car-free lifestyle.

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Wallis retired in 1987 after nearly four decades spent working in libraries from Minnesota to West Germany. She died in September 2010.