You know those lists that show up while you are on Facebook? I’m talking about the ones that give the safest towns, the most interesting town names, the best just about anything you can think of in any state. Surprisingly, I found two that feature Hot Springs, S.D.
One such list was the best library in each state that was posted by ElleDecor.com. How they select the libraries or who does the selecting is not mentioned in the article. The Hot Springs Public Library was named as the best library in South Dakota. It has been open only a dozen years and is a busy, welcoming place.
Leslie Jensen was the featured speaker at the dedication on June 10, 2007. Jensen grew up in Hot Springs, married and raised his children here. Among his many words of encouragement and praise for the endeavor, one of his statements about the library in his current town shocked me and I don’t think I will ever forget it.
At the time of the grand opening, Jensen was living in Ashland, Ore. He stated that the city of Ashland — with a population around 20,000 people — had recently closed their library. It turned out that Ashland closed theirs along with 14 others within the county, due to budget difficulties stemming from 2006. I don’t know how long they were closed but I did find that in 2014 an election created a Special Library District which is run by elected, volunteer board members. That was great news. Can you imagine not having a library available?
The second gem was featured on Bookbub.com. In 2019, the company created the “Ultimate List of Local Bookstores: 51 Must-See Bookstores Across the US.” Again, Hot Springs made the list for South Dakota, with Black Hills Books and Treasures. The description reads: “Stop into this bookstore to experience all the local culture of the area. Not only does this store have a wide selection of titles, but they also sell art by local craftsmen, which includes wood carvings, jewelry and paintings!”
What an honor for owners Rich and Diane Gross. And now they are ready to share the glory. After 19 and one-half years, they have decided to retire and the ultimate bookstore in South Dakota is for sale. Maybe you’ve been contemplating a move to a Black Hills town that moves at a slower pace than the city. Inquiries can be directed to http://www.blackhills-books.com.
When I first started noticing the internet lists I wondered if entities paid to be listed, as part of their advertising budget. Diane had no advance notice of the listing and was as pleased and surprised as anyone. Both Hot Springs sites appeared on unrelated lists, yet it stands to reason that someone must have visited the library and the bookstore in the recent past in order to come up with the descriptions. When they did, they surely didn’t tip their hand. It’s another internet mystery. ❖