History Highlights

The Library Association of Paris, Texas, held its first meeting at the home of Mrs. T. M. Scott, August 26, 1926.

The library opened to the public February 1, 1927, in a building on Church Street. The collection included 685 books. Miss Gertrude Drummond was the librarian.

With a generous contribution by Mr. And Mrs. J. J. Culbertson, the library moved into its own building on South Main Street in 1932. Mr. Culbertson donated the land and financed the $50,000 building, which was to serve as both a library and art gallery. Local labor and materials were utilized whenever possible which was a boon to the area economy. The collection included both adult and juvenile titles and works of art including paintings and statuary on loan from the Culbertsons.

Drawing of the Library Building

The library was a hub of activity from its opening day. Art exhibits and reading clubs dominated the calendar. In 1934 the four Jerry Bywaters panels were given places of prominence in the library. The print collection continued to grow and circulation steadily escalated.

By the 25th anniversary year, 1957, library service was extended to all citizens of Lamar County. The collection had grown to 18,300 items. A children's area had replaced the art gallery in order to provide special services to the growing number of juvenile patrons. The Bywaters panels and other important historical art works remained.

The original building was much too crowded and in disrepair by the mid-eighties. The library advisory board and friends of the library carried out a well-publicized campaign and voters responded favorably on May 4, 1985, with the passage of a $975,000 bond issue. The 63% winning margin clearly indicated strong community support for the library.

A matching federal grant enabled the library to renovate the original building and extend it by over 9,000 square feet at the back. The new facility included more accessible shelving and counter space yet maintained the charm of the original building.

In November 1987 the library's new wing opened to the delight of readers, enabling the staff to provide better patron and technical services.