The First Chapters of the University Park Public Library
In 1987 a group of Cub Scouts banded together under the leadership of Den Mother Diane Galloway to raise $20,000 towards funding a University Park library. Community supporters founded a Friends group which received its tax-exempt, non-profit status in 1989 and elected Winnie Hamlin as its first President.
In 1997 the City of University Park challenged the Friends to raise $300,000 in six months to prove there was community support for a library. The Friends were successful—securing a $100,000 donation from Merrill Lynch and $1,000 each from 200 residents, known as the Pioneer 200.
In 2000 longtime Friends’ members Mary and Albert Huddleston gave the Friends 5000 square feet of office space in a Snider Plaza bank building for an incredible lease rate of $1 per year. With donated books, makeshift shelving, and an enthusiastic volunteer staff, the University Park Book Bank celebrated its grand opening on June 7, 2001.
In 2002 the Friends hired Lee Shuey, MLS as its first Director and in 2005 formally changed the library’s name to University Park Public Library. The Friends continued to operate the Library with annual grants from the City of University Park and generous contributions from UP residents, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, and other charitable organizations including the Summerlee, Hoblitzelle and Harry W. Bass, Jr. foundations. The Library currently has three full-time professional librarians and is open to patrons 44 hours per week.
In 2011 the City of University Park and the Friends entered into a Partnership Agreement with the City operating the Library as a City department. In early 2013 the Library opened the doors of its permanent home in a five-story building in The Plaza at Preston Center. The Friends have begun a Capital Campaign to raise money to support the future legacy of the Library.
We encourage all UP residents to join the Friends in support of your community library!