Palacios Library

326 Main Street
Palacios, TX 77465

361-972-3234
Palacios Library History :

20 women organized the Palacios Library on June 15, 1910. At the end of the year the library had 104 members, 325 books, and $150 in the treasury. The library was housed in a narrow framed building, which was once the town box ball alley. In 1961, the library association had reorganized with a 12-member board and started to face the problem of no funds, an inadequate building and obsolete books.

After Hurricane Carla in September 1961, the fragile library building was full of mud, hay, and dead animals. 90% of the books were destroyed. One day Mrs. Phyllis Burson, Head of the Corpus Christi Libraries appeared with almost 1,000 books in the back of her station wagon. These excellent books were the gifts of libraries from all over Texas. At the same time the disaster funds made it possible to purchase approximately 1,200 books. The city of Palacios allowed the library to be temporarily housed in the old Bay View Hospital. Mr. Lichtenwalner of Illinois sent over 1,000 books. Small and large amounts of money continued to come in, $1,000 was given by two former residents. The Athena Club were on hand to help where needed, 2 worked as librarians, others in processing books, 4 volunteered for story telling, and others helped with various other tasks. Books then totaled 3,500.

These new books were now being processed for the first time according to standard library processing. We now have books and a library building. Volunteers are now needed to help keep the library going. Athena Club agreed to continue helping by staffing the library with volunteers. A group of high school and junior high students called the "Book Ends" also helped.

The Palacios Library achieved the status of tax-exempt and became a non-profit organization in 1964. Plans were being made for a new library building. A gift of $7,500 soon grew to $9,000 to purchase the site on the corner of Fourth and Main. It was decided that a budget of $75,000 would be enough to build a modern new library.

Fundraising began in December 1965, with "The Build For Books Tea" sponsored by the Athena and Alpha Club. The local newspaper The Palacios Beacon helped by allowing a weekly article called the "Palacios Library News" since 1964. The Matagorda County Tribune was also helpful in letting the public know of our needs. The public schools sent leaflets asking parents to give what they could, suggesting, "It takes $4.50 to put a roof over one book". Letters went out to all the businesses in town and in nearby towns. At the new site there was a large thermometer gauging the way towards the goal of $75,000. Gifts from $1.00 to $25,000 were coming in from private sources. By late February 1966, an unexpected gift from a Houston foundation put the drive over its goal! A 57-year-old dream has now become a reality.

The Texas State Library consultant came in to discuss ways of improving the library and its services. There would be no fee for children or young adults under 21 and adults would pay .25 yearly on a three-year basis. The Athens Room in the Library (20' x 30") would be available, without charge, for educational and cultural purposes. Local clubs and individuals sponsored subscriptions to magazines.

Moving began when the shelves and chairs arrived from New York City. The librarian, Mrs. Pena, and volunteers moved the 6,200 books to their new air conditioned home in a few hours, by box, truck, and car. The Alapha and Athena Clubs hosted a formal opening on April 23, 1967. Everyone was amazed at the beautiful new library.

The circulation rose from 6,055 in 1966 to 12,424 in 1967. The library was open thirty-one hours weekly, two mornings, five afternoons and three nights. The Matagorda County United Fund had contributed $1,850.00 toward operating expenses, a private source had underwritten the librarian's salary for one year, and the city continued its $300.00 yearly support. The volunteers continued to help, typing, processing books, selecting new books, "manning the front desk", and straightening the books.




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