Preserved for posterity

Published 6:01 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021

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Lyle history book added to Library of Congress collection

When Mitch Helle-Morrisey set out to write a book on the history of his hometown Lyle, he did so as a labor of love.

Now, his book “Biggest Little Town on the Border: A History of Lyle, Minnesota 1853-2020” will be a part of the collection at the Library of Congress.

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“I was proud,” Helle-Morrisey said about learning his book had been accepted. “Writing a book about a town of 500 people is not going to make you famous. I put in a lot of work and time in this and it was nice to see it got accepted. As a non-writer, it felt like a good affirmation.”

Helle-Morrisey announced that the book was accepted by the Library of Congress on the Lyle Historical Society’s Facebook page last week. The book was assigned control number 2020446776, according to a letter shared on the LHS page.

According to the Library of Congress website, the Library of Congress collects “general histories of counties, cities, and towns” with “a special interest in collecting histories of U.S. territories, regions, states, counties, and cities.” The library also seeks to acquire “local history materials containing substantial information of significant research value.”

In order to donate his book, Helle-Morrisey had to fill out an online form, which in turn was reviewed by a Library of Congress librarian. Once the book was accepted, Helle-Morrisey was asked to send two copies.

Helle-Morrisey has also donated copies to Austin High School, PacellI High School, Lyle Public School, St. Ansgar High School, and the Mower County and Mitchell County Historical societies. He is currently working on getting copies donated to the Minnesota Historical Society.

“When I finished my book, I didn’t want it to die away at some point in the future; I wanted to make sure it was broadly available,” he said. “One of the things I was trying to do with my book was make it repeatable and share some of the sources I used so that if at some point in the next hundred years, if someone else tries to take a stab at it, then they’ve got a good place to start.”

But for now, the history of the little town of Lyle will be preserved in the nation’s capital.

“I put a lot of work into making it a real book, so it’s nice to have that verified and know that a copy of this will live on,” Helle-Morrisey said.