Taylor Public Library History
finding of her old family scrapbook by Mrs. E. E. McAdams, in her home at
undated newspaper clipping in Mrs. McAdams’ scrapbook stated: “Library plans
were well underway, books had been donated, funds had been lined up, and
book-lending of a semi-public nature had already begun, when the
November 1934, the Auxiliary to the Taylor Chamber of Commerce was organized,
with Mrs. McAdams serving as temporary chairman. The first permanent officers elected in
January 1935, included Mrs. M. B. Conoley, President;
Mrs. McAdams, Vice-president; and Mrs. D. L. Thomson, Secretary–Treasurer. But even before these permanent officers were
elected and the constitution adopted, stated: “Major E. H. Roach, a Chamber of
Commerce director, welcomed the new organization as an adjunct to the men’s
Chamber of Commerce and suggested varied activities, such as the buy-at-home
campaign and a public library. The suggestion that space for the library might
be included in the proposed
the year 1935 the Auxiliary to the Chamber of Commerce adopted as its project a
house-to-house survey of the city for the Federal Housing Administration, of
which Mr. George P. Frewitt was local chairman. The ladies were to canvass the entire town to
determine the need for improvement in homes; they were instructed that while
making this housing survey, they were also to ask for information in regard to
mosquito control, secure donations of books for the public library, and solicit
memberships in the Auxiliary. It was
announced at about this same time that the books in Traveling Library Set No.
80 had been received from the State Library and were ready to be loaned to the
public; a complete list of the books was published in the local newspaper. Soon afterward the Ladies Auxiliary to the
Chamber of Commerce sponsored a matinee at the
For many years following, the Library remained housed in City Hall, with the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce acting as librarian along with her other duties.
In 1937 the Woman’s Study Club
organized a circulating library within its own membership. At the same time Mr. H. G. Richards, City
Manager, was doing everything within its power to keep the Public Library alive
and growing, with all the limitations of the economic depression then
existing. In 1939, when Rebecca Richards
secured permission from the Board of City Commissioners to use a small sum,
whose original purpose had become obsolete, to purchase Mrs. Robertson’s books;
and these were added to the original collection in City Hall. At about this time the Woman’s Study Club
adopted support of the Taylor Public Library as its chief project, and this
group represented the Library’s only continuous support for many years. Still there was no steady library progress
because of inadequate finances, no permanent home for the books, and no regular
librarian. During World War II the books
had to be moved to a vacant business house on
the autumn of 1948 a group of interested citizens met to discuss ways and means
of reactivating the Library which at that time lay dormant. Mayor R. E. Kollman
and the Board of City Commissioners agreed to set aside $100 per month ( in later years raised to $150 ) for library purposes, and
they also appointed a seven-member Taylor Public Library Board to administer
the affairs of the Library. This
original Board included Mrs. Ralph Johns, chairman; T. H. Johnson,
vice-chairman; Mrs. A. D. Evans, secretary; and Mrs. A. E. Ake,
treasurer; along with Rev. Stuart Currie, F. E. Wilks,
and L.D. Hammack.
It was decided that a new location was needed, and through the interest
and generosity of Supt. Johnson and the Board of Trustees of Taylor Public
Schools, space was from war surplus materials and located on
the summer of 1956 the Library was again crowded out of its location by the
building of the
On October 1, 1957, Mr. Fox obtained the property on the corner of Eighth and Vance Streets from Mr. R. Wehby; measuring seventy-five by one hundred and thirty feet, it was secured for $2400 and was considered by everyone to be the choice location and general accessibility to everyone. Its attractiveness was further enhanced by a flowing artesian well located in a convenient place on the building site.
On November 11, 1957, the Planning Board met with Mr. Cameron Fairchild of Houston to discuss building plans; he was chosen because of his high standing in the profession of architecture and because Taylor had been the childhood home of both Mr. Fairchild and of his wife, the former Helen Tarkington. On November 20th he submitted the first rough sketch, and his description of the proposed building contained the following information: “The building to be constructed in the vicinity of $25,000 would be built of Austin limestone and glass, with the entire north wall of the reading room to be made of fixed plate glass windows to bring in as much north light as possible, since north light is fairly constant, and is a well diffused light. The exterior walls are laid as a hollow core wall, so that the limestone is exposed on the interior of the building as well as on the exterior. The roof structure is wood with exposed beams and with acoustical plaster between the beams. The roof is of built up tar and gravel.” Mr. Fairchild had been asked to plan a building that could be managed by one librarian who would at all times be able to seethe entire area, a building that would require the minimum of repair and upkeep, one that would be entirely functional without a foot of wasted space, and one that would be as a showcase from the outside so that the inviting interior could be clearly seen in its entirety by those passing by. It was also decided to eliminate all but the essential interior dividing walls and that instead, the partitions would be formed by movable double-case bookshelves so that the interior arrangement would be changed at will. After examination of the preliminary sketch, the Building Committee enlarged the floor area to 2,150 square feet, to include a mechanical equipment room to house the year-round air conditioning system, a men’s washroom, a ladies lounge, a librarian’s workroom, office and the main book and reading room.
For the use of the Public Relations and Public Information Committee and the Contributions Chairman, a very effective brochure was prepared by Mrs. Kennedy Jones and Mrs. Gillis Conoley, with art work by Mrs. S. V. Robertson and Gene Royer.
The Planning Board announced that on the outside wall of the Library, at the entrance, there would be two Indiana limestone plaques, measuring three feet by two feet; one would be entitled “In Memoriam,” and on it would be incised names of all relatives or friends in whose memory a minimum of $500 was contributed toward the Building fund. The other, entitled “Patrons,” would bear the names of all living persons donating at least $500. Later, after these two plaques were filled, in the fall of 1959, the planning board included a third stone plaque for additional names. Without any door-to-door solicitations and without the use of a single cent of tax money, more than sufficient money was mailed or brought to the office of the Contributions Chairman to pay for the building by the time it was completed.
Bids were opened on July 15, 1959, and lowest bidder was Coffield Construction Company of Rockdale; the contract was let for the sum of $30,112.50. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held in the late afternoon of July 29th, and construction began on the following morning with one hundred and fifty calendar days allowed for its completion. Plans were made for a dedication early in 1960.
library building was dedicated on March 7, 1960, with an outstanding program
and given to the citizenship of
was a happy celebration when the ribbons were cut, and the citizenship of
Library moved from
1948 Library Board appointed.
1956 Library moved to building at 9th and Hackberry on school grounds.
1957 7th and
1960 Library building at 7th
1962 Last payment made on library building.
1970 New addition to library building.
1972 City replaces roof on original structure.
1980 Historical Collection room at library completed. Donated by John Thompson.
1981 Roof leaks repaired.
1990 2nd addition to library dedicated.
1992 Repairs on leaks and seaps under windows by city and board.
1994 Library walls sandblasted and silicone spray applied.
1996 East porch enclosed.
1998 Warranty money limit on roof is spent; City takes over repairs for ongoing leaks.
2002 July 3rd, library building closed due to water damage, mold, and structural damage.
Move to City Hall and
2003 Bond issue passed for new library – 3.4 million dollars.
2005 Vangard Contractors Inc. wins bid to build new library.
2006 Groundbreaking for new library February 16.