Round Rock Public Library

Round Rock Public Library

Round Rock Public Library is a public library located in Round Rock, Texas [Public Library Association, Web site accessed 1/14/2008, URL:; Public Library; cite book |title=The Public Library Start-Up Guide |last=Hage |first=Christine Lind |year=2004 |publisher=Editions of the American Library Association |location=Chicago |isbn=9780838908662]

shootout of 1878. The Library's plot of land has been used by a variety of business and by the City of Round Rock. The current library building, c. 1999, was designed by architects Ray Gill and John Moman to reflect the site's local history. [cite book |title=Heart of the Community: The Libraries We Love |last=Christensen |first=Karen |coauthors=David Levinson |year=2007 |publisher=Berkshire Publishing Group |location=Great Barrington, MA |isbn=0977015920 |pages=112-113 ] The Library building was named for two residents active in Round Rock civic organizations and instrumental in starting and maintaining the library: Robert G. and Helen Griffith. [ cite journal |last=Reynolds |first=Sharon |title=Round Rock Is Our Life |journal=Northside Living |volume=2 |issue=2 |pages=14-15 |date=March/April 2000]

The Library created a partnership with the Williamson County Genealogical Society (WCGS) to make the history of the city, county, and central Texas more accessible to researchers and genealogists. WCGS owns an extensive collection of local genealogical and historical materials that are housed and cataloged by the Library. Both organizations contribute to the upkeep and expansion of the collection, and both provide educational research seminars at the Library.

RRPL has a teen program that features gaming tournaments, a blog [cite web |url= |title=2-6teen blog |accessdate=2008-01-14 |work=City of Round Rock Blog: Community Conversations] , and a book club.


The library stands on a corner lot on the Main Street of Round Rock, Texas, a town that started as a frontier outpost "as early as 1833." [cite book |title=Round Rock Texas USA! |year=1972 |publisher=Kiwanis Club of Round Rock, Texas |pages=3 ] White settlers in Texas battled with Native Americans and Mexicans to control the land. After 1839 and Texas independence, the white faction won control and European settlement opened on the frontier near Austin. [Texas History] Early settlers in Round Rock came to the region due to commerce and railroads. "Many Swedish families including the Nelsons, Jacksons, Gustafsons, Andersons, Johnsons, Berkmans, and Petersons [followed] S.M. Swenson and Swante Palm, fellow countrymen who had established themselves in business and farming. . . . With the coming of the railroad in 1876, the Texas Land Company aided in developing a new township at the end of the line. As the western-most limits of the railroad, Round Rock became a booming and prosperous trade center." [cite book |title=Round Rock Texas USA! |year=1972 |publisher=Kiwanis Club of Round Rock, Texas |pages=3 ]

The library's land has had various uses. In 1885, a sash, door, and blind warehouse occupied the east half of the corner lot, but by 1902 the lot was empty. By 1925, when automobile use became widespread , a 30-car garage took over the corner. By 1937, the garage became a Ford sales and service dealership, and a combination City Hall and volunteer Fire Department was built on the western half of the lot. [Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970, Retrieved on 11 January 2008 from proprietary online database, "Proquest", maps published in 2001]

The library appeared on the corner lot in the early 1960s. In 1962 the Round Rock Ladies Home Demonstration Club decided that the city needed a library. They organized a group of private citizens into the first Round Rock Public Library Board. Then they bought the old Ford Motor Company building on the corner of East Main Street at Sheppard, where the present library stands. The old showroom provided space but it needed to be remodeled, which took 20 months. The work on the showroom was done by a Round Rock High School building and trade class and by local craftsmen.

At first the state-chartered, nonprofit, Round Rock Public Library Association administered the library. Then the City of Round Rock assumed ownership of the library in 1977.

In September, 1978, structural damage forced the library to close. During the Spring of 1979, the library relocated to a temporary building on Liberty Street. Volunteers and community members helped move the books and equipment to the temporary facility. The library served the community there until 1980. On July 20, 1980, a $0.5 million two story structure was dedicated on the original site. The library used the first floor and the city council chamber took up the second floor. Ray Gill designed the building to retain the historical Texas flavor evident in other buildings on Main Street and to blend in with the existing city hall building.

Need for more space mandated that the entire building be renovated in May 1988. At that time, the library retired its card catalog and installed an automated library system. In 1992, a Library Foundation was formed, incorporated, and granted a 501 (c) (3) classification, allowing it to supersede the Library Board.

In January, 1996, Round Rock citizens voted for and passed a $3.5 million bond issue to expand the library from 11,000 square feet to approximately 43,000 square feet. Construction on the new addition began in March 1998 and was finished July 1999. Remodeling of the old building began right away and was completed December 1999. A grand opening ceremony was held on November 20, 1999, and the library building was named in honor of Robert G. and Helen Griffith, long time library supporters and community leaders. [cite web |url= |title=City of Round Rock - History of the Library |accessdate=2008-02-20 ]

As of 2008, over 30 staff and 60 volunteers keep the library running, managing 170,000 volumes, 115 online databases, and over 50,000 online books. [Data from conversations on 02/26/2008 with library staff members Robert Logan, Head of Collection Development, and Tricia Brauer, Catalog Manager.]


External links

* [ American Library Association]
* [ City of Round Rock Blogs]
* [ Libraries We Love]
* [ Public Library Association]
* [ Round Rock Public Library]
* [ Williamson County Genealogical Society]
* [ Williamson County Historical Museum]

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