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History of the Alvarado Public Library

The old Alvarado Public Library and Senior Citizen's Center building in 1990.

   Back in 1985 the idea of having a library in Alvarado was just a dream.  It was made possible by the donation of an old grocery store by David and Carolyn Waldrip of Davidís Grocery stores in 1986, a $100,000.00 matching grant from the Texas State Library, a $50,000.00 matching grant from the Meadows Foundation, and over $50,000.00 in local contributions from many individuals, organizations and businesses, including $5000.00 from the Alvarado State Bank and $2,500.00 from the Alvarado National Bank. Thanks to several years of hard work and fund raising efforts,  of numerous people and groups, the dream of the Alvarado Public Library and Senior Citizens Center finally became a reality in 1989. 

   Our Library/Senior Center building served the public for over 13 years and as most local residents know, the building was condemned on March 19th, 2002.  Prior to the building's closure the Library Board and City Manager had already been discussing various solutions for the re-location of the library and the Senior Citizens Center.  Many of us began searching for temporary buildings and the cost of leasing or buying portable buildings was discussed. The Senior Citizens Center found a suitable building to purchase and remodel but the library was unable to find anything.  

   After the old Library/Seniors building was condemned the search began again for a building that could be used by the library. There were no suitable buildings available for the library to purchase and remodel for less than $550,000.00.  That amount was simply too high to be practical. 

   In May of 2002 the City  provided property for the new building's location. The Alvarado 4B Board allocated up to $155,000.00 for the new building. The library board committed $25, 000.00 in revenue and donations and transferred the money into the library's new Building Fund Account.  Over $18,000 of that money was spent on soil samples, preparatory dirt work and architectural fees. 

 On April 22, 2003 we submitted a grant request to TXI/Chapparal Steel for 1,100 cu. yds of concrete and various sizes of rebar for the foundation and parking lot.  TXI/Chapparal Steel has promised to supply the rebar for the project but they could not supply the concrete so we changed the specifications for the project and are now planning to have an asphalt parking lot.

   A few members of the local community immediately stepped forward and donated more than $14,000.00 in cash. Others made pledges of construction materials and brought in plumbing fixtures and other items.  Two local businessmen donated half of the cost of storing the library's collection in climate controlled storage units for one year, while the other half of the cost was absorbed by CKL Mini Storage. Twenty-seven tons of stone were donated for the building's facade.  Library patrons and other community members made book donations for book sales that brought in over $300.00 for the new building project.  

   Another  fund raising effort  was  created by Meg Barrow who serves as Treasurer on the Alvarado Public Library Advisory Board.  Meg's idea was to have individuals and businesses sponsor a square foot of the library. Sponsors could choose which area they wished to sponsor and have the option of dedicating that area in memory of or in honor of a friend or loved one. Since it's inception in April 2003 we  had 363 square feet of the new library sponsored at $25.00 per sq. ft. This sponsorship drive raised $9075 The library board and other concerned citizens have made and sold craft items and baked goods at every event in the city for the last year and a half. Local artist Ricky Poulter donated the proceeds from the sales of his artwork, over $100, to the library's Building Fund. Level's grocery store allowed us to place donation jugs at each of their cashier stands for over a month. As a result of all of these efforts the library's Building Fund account now totals $34,829.88 and is still growing.

 


Artist's rendering of the Alvarado Public Library

First Corporate Construction Materials Donation Received For New Library Building Project
 

   
Former Library Board Vice-President, Brian Wakefield

     Twenty-seven tons of Austin stone, for the exterior of the new Alvarado Public Library, was delivered on Friday, August 30th, 2002 at 10:15 a.m.  This was the first donation of construction materials for the new library and it was made thanks to the efforts of  Brian Wakefield, who at that time served as Library Board Vice President, Johnson County Precinct 4 Commissioner Troy Thompson, and the generosity of Tom Moore with the Trinity Materials Corporation. 

        

Mini-movie of the stone delivery.  
(Use Windows Media or Real Player.)

Happy crowd receives delivery of
donated stone.

A nice group gathered to receive the donation of Austin stone, which was delivered by library board Vice-president, Brian Wakefield and another Johnson County Precinct 4 driver. Among those present were:  Alvarado Chamber of Commerce President, Melodye Brooks; Library Director Leanna Cowan and her husband, Terry Cowan; local genealogist, Ruth Daniels; Library Board Secretary, Chris Davis; local genealogist and Library System Representative, Kathy Dendy and her husband, local photographer, Tex Dendy; City Councilwoman, Mellie Ferguson; Fran Green; Former Assistant Librarian, Kathy Hamilton; Former City Councilman, Chuck Krueger; Public Works Director, Bud Moore; and Library Board member, Beverly Short.

 

      The new library building project was partially funded by the Alvarado Economic Development Board, using money from the projected 4B sales tax revenue. The Alvarado Public Library board has committed $25,000, from local donations and library revenue, to cover part of the building project. 
      In order to ensure a long lasting, sturdy foundation, for the new building, the budget for the project had to be increased by approximately $50,000. 
    
     [In our new building, thanks to the efficiently designed interior layout,  we were able to almost double the space in the Genealogy, Young Adult and Children's sections and add considerable space to the Adult and Reference areas as well.    The library's Community Meeting Room has 1 000 sq. feet of usable space and features a kitchenette, a piano, and a portable full-sized puppet theatre. The Community Meeting Room
is available for use at no charge to non-profit groups and may be rented, for a nominal fee, to those wishing to hold parties or other recreational events.]

     

Tocker Grant Awarded to the New Alvarado Public Library!

     The library received a $37,585.00 grant from the Tocker Foundation for new furniture and shelves.  Library patrons happily said goodbye to the old mustard yellow metal book shelves and mismatched furniture.

[After the building was finished all new frost white book shelving, with built-in adjustable book ends was purchased.   Comfortable, attractive seating was placed in the adult, young adult, and juvenile reading nooks. A special play table and chairs, new wooden picture book shelves and a new large book display unit was put in the children's section. A special microfilm storage cabinet was purchased to house the archived newspapers and other microfilmed records. A modular, ADA compliant circulation desk replaced the old awkward counter style desk. The new desk features a self-serve Internet based catalog look-up station and convenient book return drop.]

 

Local Family Gives $12, 500.00 to the New Alvarado Public Library  Building Fund!

     A local family, who wishes to remain anonymous,  donated $12, 500.00 to the new Alvarado Public Library Building Fund. (This very generous donation meant that the project had enough funds for completion even sooner than previously anticipated. )

 

Our jobsite sign was donated by Kerry Horne of Horne Signs. 
Thank you Mr. Horne!

 

Local Business Donates Construction Material

     A local business, I-35 Sand Pit, donated $9,000 worth of select fill dirt for the foundation pad of the new library building. [Dirt work for the foundation was one of the first things to take place once the bidding process was done and all money was collected for the completion of the new building project.] 

 

Another Sizeable Donation Received

     Local historian and library supporter, Dorothy Schwartz,  donated $1,000 to the new Alvarado Public Library Building Fund. Mrs. Schwartz stated that she hoped others would see that people do care about the library project and that everyone in the Alvarado area should donate whatever they can afford.

 

Show Your Support & Sponsor a Square Foot of the Library!

     In an effort to raise funds for the library project, the public was asked to donate $25 to sponsor a square foot of the new library building.  Meg Barrow, who at that time was the Library Board's Treasurer, proposed the idea and made colorful certificates to be given to sponsors in appreciation of their contribution to the library project. Sponsors' names were engraved on plaques, which have been permanently displayed on the library's Wall of Honor and are also displayed  online at the Wall of Honor
     Sponsors were able to have their donation made "In Memory of" or "In Honor of" a loved one or friend. Sponsors were able to choose the location of their "Square Foot."
     Since it's inception on April 26th, we received $8,825 in square foot sponsorship.

Continued on Page 2

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