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Cross Plains Public Library (TX)

History of the Cross Plains Public Library

 A History of the Cross Plains Public Library

At a town meeting in 1978, it was determined that for Cross Plains to grow and become a better place to live, more community leadership, pride, and cooperation from its citizens was needed.  Three committees were formed to accomplish these objectives, one of which was for a Library. 

Thanks to many volunteer hours and donations from Cross Plains school alumni, current and former residents, the City of Cross Plains, and Callahan County, the Cross Plains Public Library was opened in February of 1979.  These generous folks made it possible to purchase the “Barr Building” to house the library.  Donated books were received from individuals and from publishing houses.  Volunteers helped renovate the front of the building, build shelves, and provide necessary furnishings. 

In 1981, Cross Plains Public Library became a member of the Big Country Library System, based in Abilene.  Local fund-raising activities were organized by the Friends of the Library, which later became the Cross Plains Public Library.  Computers were acquired to automate the check-in, check-out of books, as well as providing internet access.  Although the Big Country Library System disbanded due to state funding, our patrons still enjoy the benefits of this membership, including inter-library loans and free access to the TexShare Databases. 

In July 2009, the library expanded next door to open the “Children’s Discovery Center” with computers and family-friendly games resulting in a total area of 4,236 square feet.  There is also a comfortable reading area, so the children can “curl up with a good book.”  The estate of a beloved local teacher donated the complete collection of Caldecott and Newbery award-winning children’s books and updates the collection annually. 

We currently house a collection of over 20,000 volumes, an up-to-date computer system and free Internet access, including wireless connectivity. We are the largest library within forty miles, serving 2,149 patrons from a four-county area.  Except for nominal charges for printing, copying, and faxing, all library services are provided free to everyone.  Our director and several loyal volunteers provide service during library hours and with our Board of Directors plan, organize, and conduct our many programs

Honors and awards we have received are:

  • In January 2007, along with just 84 other libraries in the U.S. and Canada, we were featured in Berkshire Publishing’s Heart of the Community: Libraries We Love.
  • In January 2010, we were one of two finalists in the Library Journal’s “Best Small Library in America” contest sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • In 2013, we were the sole winner of PLA/EBSCO’s “Excellence in Small and/or Rural Libraries.”
  • In 2013, we were the sole winner of author Carla Negger’s “My Favorite Library” award.