Texas is one of the most visited states in the world. It offers diversity that is rarely observed in other parts of the world regarding cultures, religions, traditions, etc. Considering its area, it is the second-largest state in the United States. Back in the day it economically developed through cattle, bison, cotton, timber, and oil.
However, today it features a diverse economy and high-tech industry. But what most people are not aware of is that Texas is also home to some of the best libraries in the United States. Although these libraries are comparatively small than the rest of the libraries in the United States but the economic development continues to give birth to additional libraries in Texas. So let’s take a look at the top 10 libraries in Texas that continue to spread knowledge and information.
Top 10 Libraries in Texas
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is an agency located in Texas that allows people access to archival resources, public records, and other library materials. The state believes that access is important to improve the lives of the families as well as the communities.
In addition to that, the state is also responsible for overlooking, library programs, preserving important Texas documents, and attending to the reading-related needs of the disabled. The Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives & Library Building is home to the Genealogy collection, main administrative offices, and a reference collection.
Initially, the Texas State Library was established as the National Library of the Republic of Texas in 1839. However, since the republic was bankrupt at the time, it meant that no more than $250 could be set on purchasing a set of encyclopedias. The Texas State Library sure took some time but gradually developed to house some of the most important Texas documents.
The Perry-Casteneda Library is located in Austin and happens to be the University of Texas’s main central library. This campus library holds more than 80 million volumes, making it the fifth-largest library in the United States. Overall, it is the 11th largest library in the country.
Work on Perry-Castaneda Library kicked off in 1972 when the construction contract was offered to Stokes Construction Company in 1974 while the library was opened to the public in 1977. It is named after two former University Professors, Carlos E. Castaneda, and Ervin S. Perry. Professor Perry was the first African American professor who was appointed as an academic professor while Professor Castaneda played an important role in the Benson Latin American Collection development.
Fine Arts Library
The Fine Arts Library is home to different schools related to music, art, technologies, and theatre and dance. It was specifically introduced and developed to support research in different areas mentioned above. It is home to thousands of research pieces including books, journals, and guides related to visual art, music, images, and theatre and dance.
The Fine Arts Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world dating back 125 years. Today, it houses some of the greatest collections in the world. With more than 10 million volumes and access to the latest databases, digital journals, and web resources, this library holds the finest human achievements and continues to promote intellectual innovation, research, and idea exploration.
Arlington Public Library
The Arlington Public Library serves more than 1.5 million people each year. It houses more than 550,000 audiobooks, DVDs and eBooks, etc. Furthermore, it is also home to genealogy resources, digital photo collections, and a vast range of powerful online resources.
In addition to the Arlington Public Library, the George W. Hawkes Downtown Library is another excellent hub serving the Arlington community. The university was established to cope with the educational and technical needs of a developing modern society. This university features meeting rooms, community spaces along with rooftop gardens, etc. Moreover, the facility is also home to more than 20,000 electronic and print items that attracted visitors of all ages.
The Harrington Library is not only a facility that houses important documents, journals, and researches but also offers technology classes and other great sources focused on the younger generation. Although the library is comparatively smaller than other Texas libraries but does a great job in promoting creativity and innovation amongst children.
It offers virtual programs as well that are focused towards, kids, teens, adults, and seniors as well. These programs are aired on YouTube and Zoom to allow easy access. Perhaps the best thing about the Harrington Library is that it serves as a Family Place Library. This is where families and children nurture their upcoming generation to promote early development and learning.
Texas A&M University-Central Texas Library
The University Library is aimed to help students with their assignments and projects etc. The facility is home to around 200 databases with over 82,000 electronic journals and 440,000 print and ebook titles. It was established in 2009 and holds official repository records of Texas A&M. the library aims to identify, acquire and manage as many relevant and important documents as possible to preserve the history of Texas and make them available for public use at the same time.
Interms of physical archives, the A&M-Central Texas Collection holds permanent public records of the university. In addition to that, there are materials related to the history of Central Texas and its people along with the communities.
The Alkek Library includes the Wittliff collections of Southern western writers along with Southwestern & Mexican Photography and serves as the main central library of the Texas State University. The university is named after Albert B. Alkek in 1991 who was an alumnus and later turned into a rancher, oilman, and philanthropist. The Alkek Library also serves as a storehouse for government documents and regularly receives a large number of government publications.
The library features seven floors that are accessible to students including 1.5 million printed texts along with 546,700 electronic books, over 2 million microfilm & audio-visual materials, 471 databases, and 110,800 electronic journals.
The University of North Texas Libraries
The University of North Texas Libraries was developed to serve the colleagues and schools of the University of North Texas. The University of North Texas Libraries is basically divided into three categories, the library collections, the physical facilities, and digital platform, and the Music Library and the Digital Libraries. The Willis Library tends to be the main library of the University of North Texas.
It is home to education, economics, and the collection of social sciences. The Student Computing Commons at Willis includes around 300 computers, 120 laptops and is open 24 hours a day. The Media Library at Chilton Hall contains audiobooks, video games, and audiovisual collections. Finally, the Eagle Commons Library was built in 1972 and today houses, Government documents, political science, law, and business collections.
Armstrong Browning Library
The Armstrong Browning Library is located in Waco, Texas. It is home to the largest collection of English poets including Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. The Original collection of the Browning works were donated in 1918 to Baylor by Dr. A. J. Armstrong. Upon the death of Robert Barrett Browning and the sale of his collection, Dr. Armstrong made a list of the items sold along with their purchases so that he could acquire them via purchase or donation.
Originally, Dr. Armstrong’s collection was located in the Caroll Library. However, it was badly damaged due to fire in 1922 but fortunately, everything survived. Later, a separate room was built to house the collection. In 1925, the collection had grown significantly and Baylor President Pat Neff in 1943 donated US $100,000 to construct a new library. Further refurbishments were made in 1995 and 2012 to house a larger collection.
Round Rock Public Library
The Round Rock Public Library initially was a non-profit, state-chartered entity administered by the Round Rock Library Association. However, in 1977, the City of Round Rock took its ownership. In 1978, the building experienced some structural damage and was temporarily moved to Liberty Street. In 1980, a US $0.5 million two-story structure was dedicated. Since the collection was increasing, the building was renovated in May 1988.
Then, in 1996, the people of Round Rock voted and passed a bill to grant $3.5 million for its expansion from 11,000 square feet to 43,000 square feet. The construction began as soon as the funds were approved and the opening ceremony was held in 1999.
Libraries in Texas, half-price books
Over the years, Texas has made significant progress in research, development, and innovation. Part of the state’s success comes from the people of Texas encouraging and enrolling their younger generations into programs that promote skill and creative development. These programs are mostly offered by the libraries mentioned above and serve as a safe house for important Texas documents while safeguarding the future of the upcoming generations.