Johnson City Library Profile Narrative 1937- Present
In 1937, a group of volunteers got together to fund the Johnson City Library. First housed in an upstairs room in the Blanco County Courthouse, the collection contained all donated books. Help was requested from the Works Progress Administration who required seven hundred books to meet minimum standards for their assistance. The library met the required number by asking the community for donations. When the WPA was discontinued, the newly formed Johnson City Woman’s Civic Club voted to sponsor the library. In 1971 the library moved from the courthouse to a building on the west side of the square. In November 1979 the Crider Café adjacent to the existing library was purchased with grant money from the Moody and Brown Foundations and donations from private individuals. The newly remodeled library opened in February 1982. With this move, the library’s collection had grown from the original 700 books to over 13,000. In 1977 the Johnson City Library Corporation was chartered as a 501(c)3.
Computers came to the library in 1996 through a grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority. In 1998 internet was introduced to the library with a grant from the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund. A Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant and Technology for All allowed for a total of twenty computers. The library now checks out many types of electronic equipment for the community's use. In 2020 the library received a grant from the Tocker Foundation providing hotspots and service contracts. Due to the coronavirus, these are a great help to children needing Wi-Fi for their classwork.
With the availability of Special Purpose Districts from the state, the Blanco County North Library District was voted into existence in 2002, and the library started collecting sales tax to support its operating budget. As per rules, a five member Board of Trustees was formed. Many excellent people have served in this volunteer position that enabled the library to grow and prosper.
Plans began for a new library facility in 2003. Through grants and loans, the new library became a reality in 2008. The entire community came out to complete the move. A celebration was held in November to thank all involved. The mortgage was paid in full December 2018 with thanks to Johnson City Bank for paying all interest on the loan.
Community members, Bob and Frana Keith, promised $500,000 in 2006 for library programs. The money allowed the library to be open longer and created very successful programs. The cornerstone of the gift is Discovery Academy, an STEM after-school enrichment program, now in its fourteenth year. The library’s outstanding adult and children's programs continue to be vibrant and enriching.
The library is open fifty-five hours a week with two full time and one half time employees with 2,500 patrons and 18,950 books, audio tapes, DVDs, and e-books. Our Wi-Fi speed is 500 mbps, and Wi-Fi is available 24/7 in and outside the library.
The library’s main goal is to be a community center and resource. The Johnson City Library Board of Trustees and staff work hard to make sure the library meets all requirements from the state for entities that receive tax money, has appropriate policies in place to assure the library runs smoothly, and that all monies are well allocated.