Attorney Arthur E. Dawes felt a need to bring books and the opportunities books provide to the rural communities surrounding Houston. His efforts and encouragement brought about the Harris County Library System. In the fall of 1920, the plans for the system were on the drawing board. The first budget allotted by the county for the fiscal year 1921 was $6,500. Miss Lucy Fuller became the Harris County Library System’s first librarian in May 1921. Within six months of operation, there existed twenty-six library stations recording in the annual report a circulation of 19,574 with a volume of 3,455 books.
The libraries in the cities of Pasadena and Moonshine Hill were added to the growing total of forty-one library stations in the one year old system. A library station housing one hundred books in a room in Pasadena High School opened in April 1922. The new Pasadena library shared the system budget in 1922 of $12,000. The first year’s report showed a circulation of 1,511 books and at least six visits by the county library director. Until 1935, the county staffed these library stations with “volunteer custodians” who were usually teachers. This was a natural progression since most of the library stations were housed in public schools.
In the summer of 1923, the Pasadena Library moved to a new location in a steel locker in the lobby of the main Post Office on Shaw under the direction of Mrs. S.E. Larkin. Clinton Wanger was to be in charge when the library was open on Thursdays from three to five in the afternoon. The newly moved library circulated 2,263 books during 1923. In 1924, the Pasadena Library requested reading lists from the county library for youth books to be used by teachers and principals. The first records (1925) indicating earnings for the Pasadena volunteer custodians show that the Pasadena Parent Teacher Association “agreed to pay a small sum as salary for the Pasadena librarian”. Between the summer of 1923 and 1930, the Pasadena Library was for a time housed in the Masonic building. Mrs. Ethel Hargrave became librarian in 1926, and the staff included Mrs. Marguerite Wolf, the branch supervisor. Circulation rose from 1,734 books in 1926 to 6,089 books in 1929.
The Pasadena library station moved into the new City Hall building in July 1930. A front room, with a separate entrance, with steel shelving and temporary furniture was arranged through the cooperation of the Pasadena City Commissioners. An additional afternoon of opening was immediately allowed, and the library rapidly developed into a busy center”. The 1930 circulation was 7,208 books. The average cost of circulating a book in the county system in 1930 was .116 per book.
Circulation in 1931 was 9,750 books. This grew to a circulation of 9,929 books in 1933. The county report for 1934 records “ a small collection of books was placed in the Santa Anna Home for transient Boys at Pasadena “. The home circulated 582 books in 1934. The Pasadena Library circulated 10,028 books in 1934 and in 1936 circulated the fourth largest number of books in the county with a total of 15,540. Records show that the Pasadena Library consistently ranged third and fourth in yearly circulation counts on a system wide basis.
The year 1936 marked the fourteenth anniversary of the Pasadena Library. An excerpt from a news article that appeared in the South Houston Times and the News Tribune is as follows:
Invites the citizens to an anniversary open house to “stimulate” reading among the registered borrowers and to acquaint the new families of the community with the books available at the library. Visitors will be greeted by the County Librarian, Miss Elenora Edgar; custodian, Mrs. Ethel Hargrave and branch supervisor, Mrs. Marguerite Wolf together with other members of the County Library staff. Special exhibits of books are planned for the library day. There will be one specialized farming; such as bee culture, poultry raising and truck gardening. New books on Texas will be displayed. These are especially interesting because of the Centennial celebration. Another group of books will be helpful to housewives, giving new information on quilting, canning, child care and training. Picture Books will be shown to entertain the children.
In appraising the Pasadena Library from its birth in 1922 through 1936, it is clear that its fourteenth anniversary celebration was typical of the striving to give the best kind of service to citizens that it was possible to give.
The Pasadena Branch was moved into a much larger and cooler room of the City Hall during the summer of 1939. The Pasadena Library moved August 21, 1941 to the home of Mrs. Ola Mae Kennedy on the corner of Broadway and Vince streets, on the block behind the high school. The library had a separate entrance and was open every afternoon from 2 to 5.
Ethel Hargrave was the librarian during these migrant years. A newspaper article featuring Mrs. Hargrave called her “one of the busiest business women in Pasadena”. She gave of her talents as a volunteer custodian and paid librarian from 1926 until her death in 1946. During these twenty years she saw the library change in size and scope She wrote many book reviews for local newspapers. She also married H.J. Burnett.
After Mrs. Burnett’s death, the library faced an uncertain future. Mary Pitre was the librarian in May of 1946 when they had to move from the Kennedy house. In June 1946, the city of Pasadena made tentative plans to build a $15,000 library building. The 33 by 44 foot structure was to be constructed so that a wing for a reading room could be added at a later date. The building was to be centrally located, perhaps on a school campus, so that it would be accessible to school children.
While the city commissioners made plans to construct a library building, the library moved into temporary quarters in a P.I.S.D. home economics building. This move seems to have been made because of a possibility of the county moving the book collection to Houston. Concerned Reading Club representatives appealed to the City Commissioners, adding, “once the library is moved, it would be next to impossible to get it back”. A tentative site on the eastside of Shaver mid-way between the senior and junior high school was proposed as the most convenient. Meanwhile, a space was reserved in the near completed Jensen Arcade building to house the library, in case the new project was not completed at the opening of the school year in September. This was the agreement made with school officials at the time the books were moved into the home economics building. Shortly thereafter the city commissioners canceled its contract for construction of the $15,000 building because of what the commissioners termed “excessive costs”.
In January 1947, the city commissioners gave tentative approval for the purchase of the Memorial Building recently completed by the American Legion & Veterans of Foreign Wars. One stipulation for the purchase of the building was that it be used to house the Pasadena Library. The Legion and VFW would continue to use the facilities as well as other groups; such as boy scout and girl scout groups. During the time the library was in the Memorial Building, Dalia May Neeley was librarian for 18 months. During her time as librarian, the position became a full time one and the library was opened for the first time on Saturdays.
By July 1949, the library in the Memorial Building was cramped. The space served 1000 readers and housed 2,415 books. Mayor Sam Hoover reported that “the county library is furnishing a limited service to Pasadena at this time. A larger building, properly located, will make it possible for the county library to render an expanded service and will serve as a depository for local citizens who wish to contribute books, educational series sets, and so forth as the nucleus of a permanent library here.” The librarian Mrs. A. J. Pitre was appointed chairman of a committee to plan a building that would house a recreation room, a small kitchen, closets and rest rooms. A new library building for $160,000 was part of a $2,367,000 city improvement bond program. The proposal for the library was defeated by the voters in January, 1950.
The manager of Shell Oil Company Dr. MPL Love offered Shell’s financial assistance. Mayor Whiteside proposed the construction of a library for the citizens of Pasadena with Shell’s assistance. A T-shape building covering 4,500 square feet was designed by Cowell & Neuhaus, and built on a city owned lot on Tatar Street, by Mann Construction Company for $100,000. The park commissioner Clyde Gary said of the public library, “We know that we have the most beautiful library building of any community comparable to Pasadena and hope that it will be the best library anywhere; serving the needs of both adults and children.” The book collection consisted of 1,000 books collected by the citizens of Pasadena for their new building and another 3,000 books belonging to the Harris County system.
The building was dedicated in January, 1953. Miss Dorothy Steidtmann, librarian in the reference library at the University of Houston, with twenty-three years library experience, assumed the duties of the library director on February 16, 1953, with an annual salary of $4,000.00. Miss Steidtmann built a dedicated staff, trained employees who had no previous experience, and won the admiration of her employees through her ability and devotion to the new library and its patrons. These same patrons had given $3,129 in a fund drive to show their support of the new library. $1,000 of this collection was contributed by Champion Paper.
In January 1953, the first library board was formed. The first governing board met on March 12, 1953. The members were: Vincent Henrich, Mrs. Ted Pasternak, Mrs. R.C. Williams, Mrs. Neva Long, Reverend J.E. Parse, S.R. Jones, Jr. and Harvey Cole. “Honorary lifetime members “were Dr. MPL Love, the manager of Shell Oil Company and Mr. B.M. Downey, manager of Shell Chemical Company. These gentlemen made finances possible for the construction of the Tatar Street building. In February 1953, the sum of $25,000 was voted for the library in a bond issue. This money was to be used for much needed books in the new building.
Within one year of opening the first activities for the library were as follows; an art show, story hour for the young people, craft displays, book mending demonstrations for staff, adult art classes, and the setting up of a Memorial Book Foundation for the giving of memorial gifts to the library by its patrons. Barely nine months old, the library collected 4,136 books and circulated 29,539 books. There were 4,308 registered patrons and a staff of three full time people. Arrangements were made to keep county library books in the new Pasadena Library until September 1953, at which time they would be turned back to the county, and the public library would stand alone with its own collection of books. The library budget for 1954 was $15,052, which was a good first step from the first working budget of $10,400. By December 1954, the library had circulated 30,000 books or seven times the number of books in the entire library. Dorothy Steidtmann resigned upon her marriage in 1955. Mrs. Haydon Sypert was acting director until the vacancy could be filled
On August 22, 1955, Parker Williams assumed the duties of director of the library. A young woman, full of energy, Miss Williams is remembered by her staff as personable, able to get needed cooperation within the city government, as one who liked challenge, and held the respect of her loyal employees. Her drive to place the needs of the library as an important part of city management saw the library as part of a bond vote in September 1955. The proposition for the library was $100,000 for “Improvements which are badly needed there. Books and equipment are necessary. The library must grow along with the city”. Of the ten proposals on the total bond vote, the library and a new city auditorium were defeated.
In the spring of 1956, the finance commissioner Troy Crawford proposed another bond vote to include the library for $125,000 ($100,000 for the books and fixtures). With plans for a vote on a city charter change in the works, the bond issue plans were dropped.
The third time being the charm: in October 1959 another bond vote was held bearing a total of $5,812,894. The proposal for $300,000 for a new library was finally approved. Much work had been done behind the scenes and a decision was made not to expand the Tatar Street library, but to construct a new building. Plans were talked about for using the Tatar Street building for a “location in which various organizations and clubs could meet” of “a municipal auditorium” or “a municipally operated rest home for elderly people.” None of these plans came about and the building was finally sold to doctors for office space. On August 1, 1960, Mrs. Virginia Schwartz joined the staff as assistant director. She was librarian in Texas City. By March 1961 construction bids were finally awarded. The new building cost $300,000 equipped, and was located on a tract of land valued at $45,000, just behind the Pasadena City Hall. It was built by Pyramid Construction Company and designed by Doughtie and Porterfield, AIA. The library was designed to hold 100,000 books. The building design was contemporary; with a solar screen of tile some 3 or 4 feet away from the glass walls of the building. It contained a meeting hall holding 75 people.
In the midst of building construction, Parker Williams resigned to assume the duties of librarian of the newly formed San Jacinto College on September 1, 1961. The city council named Virginia Schwartz acting director, and later director of the library. The Minerva Street library had a seating capacity of 168, parking for 100 cars, two listening booths, a community room, a glassed-in central patio, a fireplace facing two directions and no steps at the entrance. With the new building ready for occupancy, the Tatar Street library packed and moved its 24,000 volumes to the Minerva Street library on April 2, 1962. At this time the library had circulated over 200,000 books to patrons holding 25,381 cards.
The library opened its doors for business on Wednesday, April 18, 1962. 15,000 books were checked out and 536 new library patrons got library cards. The San Jacinto Bank furnished landscaping and furnishings for the enclosed patio and the First Pasadena State Bank furnished the reading room of the library. The official opening of the library was Sunday, June 17, 1962. The library was open a total of 61 hours a week and was staffed by seven full time people and four part time people. Within one year of opening the Minerva Street library began staying open during evening hours, the hours were extended to all day on Saturday to meet growing needs.
In December 1965 Virginia Schwartz retired and Leonard Radoff became its new head on January 1, 1966. Radoff came to Pasadena from Abilene, Texas where he had been a reference librarian. During his five years with the Pasadena Public Library, he worked tirelessly to expand its collection and its services. Len Radoff put the library before the eyes of its patrons. Among his accomplishments were establishing a working Friends of the Library group, who held a gigantic French Flea Market on several streets of the downtown area to raise money for the library. Radoff was instrumental in establishing a reciprocal agreement among five area library systems to allow patrons from each library to use the resources and books of any of the cooperating libraries. Patrons from the Pasadena Library could make use of any library in the area of Harris County. The first federal library grants were made to Pasadena to improve its library.
In August 1970, the David Coronado Memorial Civic Center at 1011 Joseph was opened. This building was provided by the Junior Forum of Pasadena and was operated by the Neighborhood Centers Association and the Pasadena Public Library. The building located in a Latin American neighborhood, housed a full time social worker, kindergartens, a well baby and inoculation clinic and a library.
In November 1967, a bond vote has held. The library’s proposition for $350,000 was to improve the present library. Mr. Radoff said, “I feel we can add on an extra 20,000 sq. feet to the present site. If it passes, we are then eligible for a matching grant of $150,000 from the Texas State Library.” The 1967 bond vote was defeated, and in May 1970 the library was again asking the voters for approval of a $700,000 bond for expansion. The issue was approved and preliminary plans were made for the library. During the time Radoff was Pasadena’s director, he was elected president of the Texas Library Association. Mr. Radoff accepted the position of Chief of Branch Services with the Houston Public Library System in January 1971. Barbara Alley, Young People’s Department Head was acting director for six months, then James Laney was assistant director for four months, but he resigned on October 21, 1971 to accept a position in his hometown.
Roman Bohachevsky became library director on November 29, 1971, and went to work with experience and industry. A major inventory was taken in August 1972 to enable the library to see where it was concerning books, and to see where areas of weakness were for needed titles. In 1973, the 21 full time and 15 part time staff began providing seven days a week service. Mr. Bohachevsky was noted to have enthusiasm, charm, foresight, and intelligence. These abilities were well used in the planning with the support of the library board for the construction of an addition to the Minerva Street Library. In 1974, construction was completed that more than doubled the size of the Minerva Street library from 17,000 sq. feet. to 35,000 sq. feet, increasing its original seating space to 300. A second meeting room was added and seminar rooms for private study. Hollis Construction Company built the expansion and Reed and Clements, ALA designed it. The total cost of the expansion was $850,000–$640,000 construction, $138,000 furniture and equipment, $72,000 architectural fees.
The library began providing library services to nursing homes in 1976. Started with a federal grant for the elderly, the extension services department began by providing bookmobile services in 1977. Homebound services were added in 1978. The extension services department has continued to be awarded numerous annual grants for library services for older adults from HALS.
The Pasadena Public Library had become a member of HALS a new regional public library system organized by the Texas State Library in 1977. The book theft security system was installed in September, 1978.
In 1978, the library began automating library operations. The automation project was coordinated by Ann Clifford, the library’s assistant director. The first step was inventorying the collection. A database consisting of patron and collection records had to be built. In 1984, the library began circulating material with the automated system. In 1992, we migrated to the CARL Automated system. CARL’s Everybody’s Catalog on public access terminals gave our patrons online access to our holdings. Eventually the card catalog was phased out. With the help of a TIF grant in 1997, we upgraded our telecommunication equipment and provided direct Internet access to our patrons. In 1999, a second TIF grant enabled us to improve our Internet access by upgrading and increasing the number of PACs. In late 1999, we migrated to a web-based automated circulation system with Innovative Interfaces Inc. WE began providing our patrons with a variety of Internet databases available from the Texas State Electronic Library. In 2000, we received a Gates Foundation grant to establish a public computer lab that opened in February 2001.
Adult literacy was an important goal of our library in the 1980s. A literacy committee representing a cross section of staff members using HALS disadvantaged services grants provided training and support for an average of 25 volunteer tutors each year. The program began in 1985 and was phased out in 1994. Today we refer students and tutor volunteers to the Houston Read Commission and maintain a basic skills collection for new adult readers at the Fairmont branch.
In 1986, Roman Bohachevsky resigned to become director of the Fort Bend County Library System. The City named Ann Clifford acting director and later director of the library. In 1989, a HALS consultant Len Radoff developed a branch building program.
The 1990s were an eventful decade for the Pasadena Public Library. A bond issue was approved by voters on May 5, 1990 for an additional $1,500,000 for the construction of the Fairmont Branch. Additional land was acquired for needed branch parking. In 1991, the library successfully applied for a LSCA grant for $86,186 for library construction. Dansby and Miller Architects developed building plans and Morris Architects handled plans for the interior and furnishings of the branch. The groundbreaking ceremony was held in November 1991. The surprise guest was Marvin Zindler complete with Channel 13 television crew. Our groundbreaking was reported on the 6 o’clock news. Williams Development was named general contractor. Diane Laymon was hired as the first branch manager and began ordering the opening day collection.
1992 was an extremely busy year. In addition to migrating to CARL, the main library’s telephone system was replaced and the reference staff began doing DIALOG searches for patrons. The library staff ordered the necessary materials, shelving and furnishings for the new branch that opened on September 14, 1992.
In 1993, Earl Erickson joined the staff as Assistant Director and Cynthia Saucier became the Fairmont Branch Manager.
It was during the 1990s that our audiovisual collection changed from a small browsing collection to a substantial part of both our collection and circulation. Books on tape, videos, compact discs and children’s read along kits proved very popular with users. Public access to the Internet at our libraries and opening the Fairmont Branch Library proved to be the two most significant improvements in our library service to Pasadena residents in the 1990s. After opening with 16,000 books in the Fall of 1992, the Fairmont Branch had 60,000 items that circulated 130,000 times in 1999.
In the Spring of 1999, Ann Clifford retired as library director. Dr. Parker Williams served as acting library director during the search for her replacement. In late 1999, Earl Erickson vacated his position as library assistant director to become the City’s grant writer.
The library started the new millennium with a bang. Sheila Henderson was appointed library director in the summer of 2000. The staff and budget organization was modified and a new Technical Services manager position created to reorganize our technical services operation. In 2001, we opened a computer lab to provide local residents with access to computer applications such as word processing and with training to improve our patrons’ computer skills. Cynthia Saucier became assistant director.
Library began a marketing initiative by hiring Martha Hayes to coordinate our publicity efforts especially dealing with media. Also in 2001, the Pasadena Public Library received recognition for the library services we provide older adults. In recognition of our community outreach services begun 25 years ago, we received both the Texas Library Association LIBRARY PROJECT OF THE YEAR award and the Thorndyke Publishing Award for Service to Older Adults presented at the American Library Association’s annual conference each year. In addition to the award winning WINDOW ON THE WORLD program, we have provided bookmobile and homebound services. We have maintained deposit collections and provided programming to nursing homes, to daycare centers and to special population facilities such as the Verne Coxe Center. Our library system also received Texas Book Festival grants for both the main library and the Fairmont Branch Library. The Great Gatsby Project resulted in our library receiving a thousand-dollar prize from cable channel A&E. The entire city was invited to participate in the library’s celebration of the Roaring Twenties.
Our library seeks to give our community a place to interact with others. In the aftermath of the 911 tragedy, Pasadena Public Library was the first library in the United States to host the 911 New York-New Jersey Port Authority traveling exhibit. Over a two-and a half day period, over 1100 visitors from as far as Conroe came to experience this amazing and heart wrenching exhibit. Many that had family, friends and co-workers to die in the Twin Towers disaster expressed gratitude for the opportunity to experience first hand what others closer to the tragedy already had seen. For some, seeing the exhibit offered closure as they mourned the loss of loved ones and friends. As soon as news was received concerning Tsunami Relief efforts following the devastating Tsunami in December 2004, staff of the Pasadena Public Library actively sought to partner with any organization prepared to move forward. The closest effort in proximity to Pasadena was by I-Freed, a non-profit organization comprised mostly of physicians and other professionals of Sri Lankan descent currently residing in the Clear Lake area. Library staff not only provided a site for the community to drop-off donations, they also contributed generously to the effort. It was later learned that the library was the first donation site established in Pasadena.
The library participates in Operation Paperback, the program that allows us to send reading materials to troops on foreign soil. In 2004, we were asked to include the military hospital in San Antonio in our efforts. The request received was specifically for video and cd materials for hospitalized military personnel and for the families there in support of their loved ones. We are in receipt of several very heart-warming letters and emails from the troops and their families served through this effort. The shipping costs for these projects are borne by the Friends of the Pasadena Public Library organization.
In 2001 the library director began a strategic planning process. Gensler Consultants completed a library space needs assessment. In 2002, she brought in Dr. Julie Beth Todaro, Dean of Library Services of the Austin Community College and consultant for the Houston Area Library System to facilitate a library needs assessment process. Also in 2002 she submitted a PPL System Building Renovation Proposal to the city. In September of that year, the city passed a bond issue for 1.5 million dollars to renovate the central library. Also in 2002 Library Director Sheila Ross Henderson was named Library Director of the Year by the Texas Municipal League’s Library Director Division.
Confirmation of Pasadena Public Library’s continuing resolve to benchmark its performance and address the changing needs of its constituency was demonstrated by its participation in a cost-benefit study with two other Texas libraries and six other national libraries funded in 2002-03 by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences (IMLS) and facilitated by the executive director of the St. Louis Public Library along with an impressively credentialed Research Team.
According to the 2003 cost-benefit analysis by the St. Louis Public Library team, Pasadena Public Library provided services to 11,400 out of 47,000 households that year, nearly 25% of the city’s population,. The study used a consumer surplus methodology, which asks consumers to place a market value on the services they receive at the library. This method tends to produce lower estimates, because services that users are not willing to replace are not included, even though those services do have some value to the households. These households reported that the services they received were worth more than $170 per household. Thus, Pasadena Public Library provided services to households and families worth more than $2 million in the 2003 study. In addition, nine percent of those households include teachers that use Pasadena Public Library to supplement their classroom activities and materials, support services that have an estimated value of $500,000. Conservatively then in 2003, Pasadena Public Library provided $2.5 million in services to the citizens of Pasadena or $1.20 of benefits per tax dollar spent.
With the ultimate goal of changing the library by reorganizing staff to improve services and renovate central library, the library began a staff development initiative. For several years we worked on developing teamwork. In 2003 we conducted workshop on team approach to managing change. In 2004 we presented staff development workshop on techniques to handle stress. In 2005 we presented a workshop on developing quality customer service. Next we focused on developing leadership skills of our managers. As our director Sheila Ross Henderson stated “It is clearly not enough for a library director to be the sole person who possesses strong leadership, administrative and capable management skills, but others within the organization also must be aptly prepared with complementing skill-sets. The goal of library administration at Pasadena Public Library is to prepare a core group of managers to cooperatively develop leadership behaviors that will permeate throughout the organization – affecting an integrative and productive work environment.” Library managers began receiving leadership developmental training offered by the Management Connection, Inc. In the summer of 2006, library began creating a strategic plan facilitated by Teresa Gonzalez with Management Connection, Inc.
The library celebrated 50 years of library services all during 2003 with a variety of activities. Several exhibits were mounted at the central library and during the month of May the library hosted Blast from the Past an exhibit on the history of Pasadena. Programming included a book signing by newspaper columnist Leon Hale, an open house celebrating the expansion of the large print collection at the central library and a sock hop where the Rocking 50’s was the theme. A “Down-home Cookbook” was compiled by the Senior Outreach staff and sold to provide continuous funding for community outreach programming efforts. Unique to this project was the story that accompanied each recipe. The majority of recipes were those from residents of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities. Because resident stories accompany each recipe many family members purchased copies as keepsakes. Others to share their recipes were First Lady Barbara Bush, Texas Icon Liz Carpenter, Pasadena councilors and library staff.
The library began extensive weeding of the library collection in 2003. We hired our first young adult services librarian who created a teen area at the central library and began presenting programming for teens. We also created a library web page. In 2003 we began losing staff positions which necessitated reducing public hours. In 2004, branch closed Monday and Wednesday nights and we reduced juvenile outreach sites. In 2005, central library closed Wednesday nights. In 2006, we reduced our summer reading program for children under 12 and further reduced juvenile outreach.
In 2004, we began renovation of central library with foundation repairs. We also held our first annual appraisal fair. Hoping to capitalize on the success of the PBS program The Antiques Roadshow, the Pasadena Public Library organized an Appraisal Fair that brought many local antiques and collectibles dealers to the library to provide free assessments of patrons’ items. The program was a rousing success. In addition, this was the first project that involved the active participation of so many local businesses. Prior to the Appraisal Fair, most business contributions involved underwriting the summer reading program through funds and prizes. Now all participating vendors regularly donate items to the Silent Auction, which raises over $1000.00 each year.
In 2005, the library received the 2005 Highsmith Award for a marketing project to promote reading among local teenagers and publicize library services for young adults. To celebrate Teen Read Week the library asked teens from around the community to submit original works in three categories: a creative horror story, a horror-themed work of art and a review of a published horror story. We tripled the number of young people who entered the contest this year.
The success of the project required the participation of a wide variety of individuals and organizations in our community. Teachers at the local school district promoted the contest among their students and judged the winners of the second and third place prizes. This year we broadened the local school district’s involvement including not only the school librarians, but also soliciting the aid of some art teachers who helped us write the guidelines and promote the contest
The project also helped the library broadened its support by getting corporate sponsors as well as the Friends group involved in the program. We marketed the program to local business to get donations for the contest prizes and to increase the awareness of the local businesses to the importance of the library to the overall local community. Also in 2005, we used a Loan Star Libraries grant to improve our computers available for public use by installing SAM a management system which handles printing, scheduling and CIPA filtering. We moved our network of public computers from HALAN network to the City Network.
We continued weeding project and conducted a comprehensive inventory in the fall of 2005. We received a grant to conduct an authority project. In 2006 Lisa Jackson became our collection development coordinator. Kenya Johnson was promoted to a newly created assistant director for operations position.
In 2006 our grant activity paid off with the award of $250,000 grant from the Brown Foundation and a $500,000 grant from the Houston Endowment for renovation of the central library. We also received Texas Read Grant to fund programming for babies and their parents. We received a grant for $21,250 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to replace 17 of our public computers.
The central library renovation process began with the passage of a library bond issue in 2002 and has continued through the years since with foundation repairs, meetings with architect to plan renovation and fundraising activities. Dansby and Miller AIA the architects who designed Fairmont Branch were chosen to design the central library renovation. The architect Eddie Dansby was a major contributor to the project and his death in late 2006 was the project’s loss. In 2007, we are releasing specifications to award construction contract and begin building of the 9,300 square feet addition. Phase two will be renovation of some of the existing 35,000 square feet.1
1The original history of this library titled History
of the Pasadena Public Library 1922-1974 was written by Barbara
Alley who was long time Pasadena Public Library children’s librarian
and was interim Library Director at the time. The history was
updated by Cynthia Saucier who included excerpts from a variety of
library documents. In 2007 the library is creating a library
history committee primarily to document significant accomplishments,
events, etc. Records retention policies will also implemented