History of the Library
Beginning in 1932, the Women’s Thursday Club purchased the land that now comprises Shamrock Park. Club members cleared the land, and shortly thereafter, Elizabeth Herndon and Ellen Easley, officers of the newly organized Girl Scout Troop in Dublin, chose the site for a Girl Scout House.
On request, Elizabeth Herndon wrote the history of the Girl Scout House, which was approved by Ellen Easley and accepted by the Dublin Public Library Board (minutes: September 19, 1984)
Lila Snead was president of the Women’s Thursday Club when the land for Shamrock Park was purchased (1932-33; 1933-34).
In 1946-47, while Ellen Perry was president of the Women’s Thursday Club, the club donated Shamrock Park to the City of Dublin.
The Dublin Public Library opened as a small subscription library on March 22, 1952 in what was the old Girl Scout House. The project was spearheaded by Mrs. Edwin Keller and Mrs. Frank Edmonds, who called a meeting of local women interested in establishing a library. The meeting was held on February 2, 1952, at the home of Mrs. Keller. The fifteen women present organized a library board and elected officers as follows:
Mrs. Edwin Keller, President; Mrs. Frank Edmonds, Vice-President; Mrs. Everett Colborn, Secretary; Mrs. C.E. Leatherwood, Treasurer; Mrs. Robert Dale Burnett, Historian; Miss Frances Clay, Reporter; Mrs. Bill Gaines, Telephone Chairman; and Mrs. Henry Turney, Corresponding Secretary.
Others present were Mrs. Joe Reid, Mrs. Norman Martin, Mrs. Frances Perry, Mrs. Clayton Keller, Mrs. Dick Harbin, Mrs. Robert Crouch, Mrs. C.E. Leatherwood, and Mrs. C.G. Foust Jr.
The original Library Board of Directors contributed books and money and solicited donations of books from interested citizens, amassing a total of 450 books, excluding children’s books and paperbacks, by opening date.
A charter and by-laws were approved by the city council and, with permission of the council; the library was set up in the little rock house in Shamrock Park. As the building was then in use by other organizations, the library books were housed on movable shelves, constructed by some of the board members and their husbands.
Opening with a silver tea, the library sold memberships for one dollar per year, with non-members permitted to check out books for ten cents per week. Volunteers opened the library two afternoons a week.
The original library was called Dublin City Library. In 1954, the library board sought and obtained listing with the Dublin Community Chest, and with these funds and other donations became a free public library, hereinafter called Dublin Public Library.
As the library grew, separate quarters became necessary. With approval of the city council, the library board enclosed an existing porch on the rock house in Shamrock Park, and moved into new quarters April 5, 1957, with asphalt tile flooring donated by A.E. Brooks of Fort Worth, CEO of Dublin National Bank, among other gifts.
In March, 1966, Flora Foust, charter member of the board and treasurer for many years, presented the library with a new room, on the west side of the original porch, more than doubling the size of the library and including two and a half walls of shelves, a powder room and storage closets.
With volunteer help, a summer reading program was added to other library services.
In 1981, with aid from the City of Dublin, the library was able to pay a librarian to keep the library open on a daily basis. A telephone was installed.
In 1985, the library was incorporated. Soon after it joined the North Texas Library System and organization that provides many services to patrons, such as interlibrary loans, audio and video tapes, assistance with book purchases, and instruction the librarian.
The library received bequests from three benefactors: Roberta Clay, ($1000); Flora Foust, ($2500); and Frances Clay, ($100,000). These funds were invested, and interest from the investments enabled the library to expand services and open 20 hours per week.
In 1991, the Library Board of Directors obtained permission from the Dublin City Council to re-occupy the rock house to which it was adjoined, as it was not otherwise in use at the time. At the July 1991 meeting of the board, a contract was made with Wayne Thiebaud to renovate the interior of the one room structure, for $15,000. On completion of the work, carpeting and bookshelves were added. An entertainment center was purchased with memorial gifts in memory of Ava Colborn.
In June 1996 the ground-breaking ceremony was held for the new library building and the demolition of the old one began. The library was funded with donations from Frances Clay, brick sales, and generous donations from Dublin citizens.
In 1998 Carolyn Holden retired after long illness. She had dedicated 38 years of service to Dublin Public Library.
The following poem was written by Carolyn Holden:
WE CALL IT READING….
Isn’t it amazing how we take them for granted?
Those little black marks on paper.
Twenty-six different shapes known as letters,
Arranged in endless combinations, known as words.
Lifeless, until someone’s eye falls on them…
But then a miracle happens.
Along the optic nerve, almost at the speed of light,
These tiny symbols are flashed to the brain
Where they are instantly decoded into ideas, images, concepts, meaning.
The owner of the eye is changed too.
The little black marks can make him love or hate, laugh or cry, fight or run away.
And what do we call this incredible chain of events?
We call it reading.
Partly because it is such a complex process, reading is not just a habit or skill.
It’s a deeply satisfying emotional experience.
Something in us knows that the soundest insights, the truest wisdom,
The most enduring knowledge come through this channel.
The spoken word rushes by and is gone, but the written word remains.
It endures. It can be consulted over and over again.
How wise then to surround oneself with books and magazines.
How wise then to love them, and teach one’s children to love them.
How wise to read.
Carolyn Holden 1987
Librarian Sandra Thomas began in Jan 1999 and retired in 2013.
In 1999 the Dublin Library Board of Directors decided to update the library with money it received from the Mildred McKnight Estate. This money was to be used only for books and updating equipment. The library has purchased many new books and other materials with this money. The library has also purchased a new computer system, added Internet, new shelving , laser printers, and digital copier.
In October 1999 Library Board Directors approached the City of Dublin and asked for the City to take over partial funding of the library due to drop in donations, funds, and increase in circulation, the library would have been unable to support itself within a few years. The City began by funding the librarian’s salary and library's maintenance.