6307 Sun Valley Drive
Johnston Branch Library opened on August 23, 1981. The land was donated by Ray Ellison Industries. The architect was Jesse J. Juarez, and the contractor was Don McMasters of Better Construction Company, Inc. Johnston held nearly 13,000 items and had a staff of 6 full time and 3 part time employees including 4 librarians, 2 library clerks, one library assistant, 2 library aides and one custodian. Staff eagerly offered to borrow whatever library users needed that Johnston did not own. The collection and the circulation steadily increased until December, 1994, when construction began to enlarge the branch library from 9,000 to 12,000 square feet. The budget for this expansion was estimated to total $785, 470. The funds to renovate and expand the existing building were authorized in the 1989 bond issue for library expansions, renovations, new branches, and literacy centers.
The building's foundation was restructured and the older area was remodeled with carpet, computer connections, improved lighting, and new furniture. On January 9, 1996, Johnston reopened with a collection of 65,000 items and a staff of 6 full time and 8 part time employees including 3 librarians, one library assistant, 4 circulation attendants, 4 library aides, and 2 custodians. The architect was Kinnison and Associates, and the contractor was Tony C. Quintanilla, Inc.
Johnston Branch Library is dedicated to the memory of Leah Carter Johnston, San Antonio Public Library's first Children's Librarian. Mrs. Johnston established the Children's Department in 1922, and she served as Children's Librarian until 1955. In 1927, she created the first children's poetry competition in the United TX States. Known as "Young Pegasus," this contest continues to inspire and encourage children to use words to express their dreams and make books of their own. Mrs. Johnston was also an author and a reviewer of children's books for Horn Book Magazine and the Texas Library Journal. In 1947, she published a children's local history, SAN ANTONIO SAINT ANTHONY'S TOWN, which remains a part of the library collection today. After retirement from the library system, Mrs. Johnston and 12 friends organized the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library in 1964.
Expansion Architect: Kinnison and Associates, San Antonio, TX