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Refugio library celebrates 50th
by Kenda Nelson
Aug 26, 2012 | 923 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Park Ranger David True of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge takes the children on a nature walk in the library where they identified animal tracks and discovered the different characteristics of animals.
Park Ranger David True of the Aransas Wildlife Refuge takes the children on a nature walk in the library where they identified animal tracks and discovered the different characteristics of animals.
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Refugio Police Officer Enrique Diaz re-enacts a crime scene and demonstrates how to lift fingerprints during the summer reading program's 'Get a clue... at the library.' The program is one of many that drew 89 youngsters to the summer reading program.
Refugio Police Officer Enrique Diaz re-enacts a crime scene and demonstrates how to lift fingerprints during the summer reading program's 'Get a clue... at the library.' The program is one of many that drew 89 youngsters to the summer reading program.
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The Dennis M. O’Connor Public Library turns 50 on Sept. 4.

The library’s golden anniversary will be celebrated from 10 to 2 p.m. with an open house and reception.

Tina McGuill, who was selected as the new librarian in 2012, not only brings a new face to the library but new ideas as well. She attributes her ability to find programs that kids enjoy to the many years she worked in the 4-H program.

This summer, the library drew 89 kids to the summer reading programs. But the adults weren’t left out.

“We’re trying to inspire our community by offering up-to-date material, unique programs and updated technology,” McGuill said.

In the works is a Read a Banned Book program featuring books that have been banned in the past, including “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and such classics as “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”

“American libraries are the cornerstone of our democracy,” McGuill said. “Libraries are for everyone, everywhere. Because libraries have free access to a world of information, they bring opportunity to all people.”

During the summer, the library hosted a genealogy class, Who am I and How Did I Get Here. McGuill’s ideas for drawing people to the wealth of information housed there.

“We want to continually encourage patrons to make new discoveries throughout their lives by bringing excitement to learning and support to help them excel,” McGuill said.

Like King’s Park on which it sets, the Refugio County Public Library had a name change on May 27, 1997. Renamed after Dennis M. O’Connor, following his death, the library was a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Dennis M. O’Connor as a memorial to the Irish Colonists who settled the county in 1828 to 1834.

Kings Park was formerly known as Plaza de la Constitucion of the Mexican Villa de Refugio.

Besides construction of the building, the O’Connor family fully equipped the interior and provided a foundation book-stock of 10,000 volumes.

The Woman’s Club, which maintained the Woman’s Club Library, turned over 2,000 volumes as well.

Constructed of concrete, cement blocks and brick with a cement “folded plate” roof, the building is deemed “fire proof.”

Since the library was opened, 50 years ago, eight librarians have been appointed including Selma Bramlett, from 1962 to 1974; Nell Williams, 1974 to 1983; Linda Bowen, 1983 - 1986; George Dawson, 1987 - 1995; Nelda Blaschke, 1996 - 1999; Patty Shay, 1999 - 2004; Sharon Myers, 1004 - 2011; and Tina McGuill, the current librarian.

The library also has a Texas Room that contains noteworthy collections on Texas and local history including Irish history and culture.

“With the help of our generous sponsors, the summer reading program was able to give wonderful prizes to the children,” McGuill said.

Devon Energy Corporation donated two Nook E-Readers and two bicycles, Hurricane Alley tickets for the kids who turned in reading logs, and Dairy Queen gift cards for the kids who had perfect attendance; Stanley Tuttle donated two bicycles.
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