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Library Service in BaytownFrom Goose Creek Branch to Sterling Municipal Library
"This building is gift of Houston oil man to Goose Creek community, to be supervised by Harris County Public Library." -- back of photo. Miss Lucy Fuller, Librarian, is supervising. This branch library was built on a site donated by Ross S. Sterling, and stocked and staffed by Harris County. The City of Goose Creek paid utilities and other facility expenses.Construction of Goose Creek BranchLibrary, 1925
A view of the front of the Branch Library, part of the Harris County Public Library, around 1931. The building was located at the corner of Jones Street and Texas Ave.Goose Creek Branch Library
Interior of the library, circa 1931. By 1955, the population of the service area now incorporated as the City of Baytown had increased from 4,000 persons to 25,000 persons, and the once ample library building could no longer accommodate the increased demands on its space.Goose Creek Branch Library
Henry J. “Hank” Blasick, pictured right, was hired as the first City Librarian in 1961. Also pictured is Sally Evans, a member of the original Sterling Municipal Library staff.New books for the new library!
Sterling Municipal Library under construction. Source: The Baytown Sun, May 31, 1962. The new library, named in honor of Ross S. Sterling, was designed by the architect Lowell Lammers. Pictured, left to right, are City Attorney George Chandler, Librarian Hank Blasick, and City Manager J. B. LeFevre.Library Columns Up
The building opened to the public in 1963. This photo is a close- up of the front of the library, circa 1968. The building had 12,000 sq. ft., and was featured in Library Journal on December 1, 1963.Sterling Municipal Library
The second City Librarian, Flora Richardson Wilhite, took up her post in 1965. She would oversee two building expansions and the addition of Bookmobile service during her tenure as director.Flora Richardson WilhiteSource: The Baytown Sun, June 27, 1965, p. 1
Bookmobile service commenced in 1971, funded in part by a Harris County stipend of $20,000 per year. The Bookmobile visited areas of Baytown that were farther away from the library building, as well as delivering materials to nursing homes and to the homebound.An early Bookmobile, decked out for aChristmas parade. 1970s.
By the 1970s, Baytown’s population had grown to 49,000. The collection exceeded 80,000 items and more space was needed. The architectural firm Davis & Burge headed up the building expansion in 1977, increasing the square footage from the original 12,000 sq. ft. to 30,000 sq. ft.Architect drawing for Sterling MunicipalLibrary Additions, circa 1977
In 1995, the Sterling Municipal Library once again needed to grow. The architectural firm of Burge & Lammers headed up the expansion of the building to its current size of 50,500 sq. ft.Interior of Sterling Municipal Library,circa 2008. Walls and floors same as1995.
Flora Richardson Wilhite, second from the left, was director from 1965-1998. Denise Fischer, second from the right, succeeded Ms. Wilhite as director from 1999-2004. Also pictured are Ross Wilhite (l.) and Gary Fischer (r.).Two Directors, One Photo
A new bookmobile vehicle took to the streets in 1999, following the retirement of the original bus. Pictured are Fernando Ocegueda (L.) and Karen Knight (R.) with the new vehicle, photographed in 2002. This vehicle, and wider Bookmobile service, were retired in 2008 due to flagging attendance and rising fuel costs.Bigger, Better Bookmobile 1999-2008
Katherine Skinner Brown was hired as City Librarian in January 2005. Ms. Brown has overseen tremendous reorganization of the interior of the library building, as well as reexamining and restructuring library services.Katherine Skinner Brown
In March of 2008 the library closed for two weeks to complete a lightning facelift of the interior. The building received new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint. The custom-designed entryway for the Children’s area was constructed by the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.Interior Remodel - 2008
All murals anddecorative paintingwere completed byLibrary Staff!Pictured are KarenKnight, CatherineCameron, and SusanChandler.
Since the 2008 renovations, the Library has continued to reimagine what the best library service for Baytown looks like. We have added: •New Toddler Bathroom •Additional Study Rooms •Reimagined Teen Activity Center •eBook and eReader support •And much more!Sterling Municipal Library – 2008-2012
What will the future hold forlibrary service in Baytown?We can only begin to imagine. And so can you! We’d loveto hear your thoughts.Click on the link below to visit our comment page:http://baytownlibrary.org/about-sml/contact-us/feedback