The history of the library in Austin, Texas.
Created by sochoa on May 4, 2011
Last updated: 05/10/11 at 11:01 PM
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The Texas Legislature has proposed cuts of about $30 million to library programs across the state. This would impact not only the library's operating budget, but services such as online databases used by public schools. Plans to build the new central library near the old Seaholm plant, which will replace the current Faulk Library shown above, are still underway.
Austin voters once again approved funds for a new central library. The new public resource will be located at the site of the old Seaholm Substation, on Cesar Chavez across from Lady Bird Lake. The library is estimated to be 170,000 square feet when the $90 million project is complete. It is scheduled to open in 2014. The current Faulk Central Library cannot be expanded upon because there is only room to grow vertically, which would violate the 1984 Capital View Corridor ordinance.
Citizens are asked to vote for proposition 6, which would grant $90 million for the improvement of the library system, specifically a new central library. According to the Libraries for Austin flyer, the cities population more than doubled since the current central library's opening in 1979, putting a strain on the library system and it's services.
The current central library was renamed the John Henry Faulk Central Library, after the Austin writer, actor, and humorist.
The original 1933 Austin central library, now the Austin History Center, is designated as a state historical landmark.
Austin library branches reopen Wednesday and Friday afternoons.
Once again, a budget shortfall reduces the Austin Public Library hours of operation. Three branches and the Austin History Center were closed on Sundays, and all branches were closed Wednesday and Friday afternoons after 2 p.m. The central library's public service desks decreased from five to two.
The original 1933 library building, which stands next to the current day central library, is renovated, again. It is now the Austin History Center, an archive for city and county documents. It is still part of the public library system.
Over $600,000 in grants allows the old central library to be converted into the Austin History Center, located right next door to the new central library. The history center is the building on the right in the photo.
A tight budget means library branches discontinued morning hours. They were re-implemented in 1980. The library's bookmobile service, which began in 1950, was also discontinued. This undated photo shows librarian Terry Eldridge taking books out of the book drop.
The new central library is completed. It is located at 800 Guadalupe, next to the original 1933 central library. The new building still serves as the current central library of Austin. It is over 100 thousand square feet in size and cost $6 million to complete.
A tight budget in 1974 meant all branch libraries were closed Fridays, however Friday hours were restored several months later. Services, such as books taken to the Travis County jail were discontinued. The photo shows the inside of the library built in 1933.
Another bond is passed by voters approving more than 4 million for a number of library needs, including the construction of a new central library. In the photo, construction workers begin work on the new library.
The central library is remodeled. It expands by 33,000 square feet, adding a patio. The project costs $151, 700.
The central library celebrates it's 25th anniversary. Chief Librarian, Mary Rice, predicts the next 25 years will mean a decentralization of the library, with about ten branches needed to meet the cities demands.
A report from the public library claims the cities library system is not meeting demand. The report mentions the city's library book use had increased by 1,000 percent since the 1933 library was built.
Because of an increased demand for the library and it's resources, voters approved a $200,000 bond issue. To help ease the demand on the central library, land is purchased for branches to be developed.
After the new structure was built, the original frame building was relocated to 1165 Angelina to become the library's first branch. The frame was resurfaced with brick and became the George Washington Carver Branch. Today it is the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. In the photo the new building is shown being built behind the original wood frame structure.
A second, permanent structure replaces the original wooden frame building that was the Austin Public Library. The building was located at 401 W. 9th Street and Guadalupe. The building still stands today as the Austin History Center across from Wooldridge Park, and next to the current Faulk Central Library. The new address, however, is 810 Guadalupe.
The Library Commission was established per an Austin City Council ordinance. The commission makes suggestions to the council about operating the library system.
$150,000 in bonds were approved by Austin voters for the establishment of a permanent library building, which would replace the first frame structure. The article above appeared in the February 24, 1926 edition of the Austin-Statesman. It states interest in the public library had increased heavily.
Just ten months after the first temporary library opened, demand was too high for the small room. A frame structure costing nearly $5,000 was opened at 9th and Guadalupe Streets. This location was the land approved by the legislature over a decade before. The building was funded by local business men.
The Austin Public Library is established in a small, rented room at 819 Congress Avenue. The Austin AAUW initiated a door to door collection to obtain books for the library.
World War I interrupted the plans to move forth with an Austin library, but in 1925 the Austin branch of the American Association of University Women, or AAUW, took on the commitment to establish a public library in the capital city as their first project. The photo above is the first library building.
The Texas legislature approved Mayor Wooldridge's suggestion for a public library. The legislature designated the state land south of Wooldridge Park to be used for a library. The photo above is the current view from the park of the first permanent library building.
Alexander Penn Wooldridge was a prominent Texas leader in areas such as education and banking. When he was elected Mayor of the City of Austin, he pushed for the founding of a public library. Wooldridge Square Park in the 900 block of Guadalupe is named in his honor.
Books went missing from the temporary lyceum library. A notice was put in the newspaper of that time, the Austin City Gazette, requesting citizens to report information on the missing books to the lyceum.
When Austin was named the new capital of the Republic of Texas, city leaders organized to set up a lyceum. Lyceums were meant to be hubs of self-learning free of use to citizens. The Austin Lyceum included a small library collection.