The Schertz Library is a community library serving a diverse population. It exists to encourage and support reading by people of all ages, educational levels and socioeconomic levels by providing educational, recreational, and cultural materials and programs. It is also an integral part of the City of Schertz. The Library works closely with its constituency and serves the interests of the citizenry. It strives to meet the City’s aspirations and to cooperate with other City departments to provide services to the community.
The Schertz Public Library began in 1977 with a dedicated group of volunteers who went door-to-door gathering signatures on a petition requesting the establishment of a public library in Schertz. The library was established by a City resolution in January 1978 and opened for service in June of 1978. The original library was located in a 1,500-square-foot building provided by the City at the corner of 1st Street and Main Street and housed 5,000 books upon its opening.
By the early 1980s, it was clear the Library had outgrown its facility and plans were made for expansion. With support from the City of Schertz, Guadalupe County, grants and donations from many area businesses and citizens, and a fund-raising campaign spear-headed by the Schertz Lions Club, a new 6,000-square-foot building, located at 608 Live Oak Road (later renamed Schertz Parkway), was dedicated in December 1983. In 1988, ground was broken for a 3,000-square-foot addition to the building. The Library Advisory Board held fundraisers to pay for the foundation and outside construction but Board members did much of the interior finish work themselves. The completed building was serviceable but humble in looks. Finally, money from a 1999 bond project became available to brick the exterior and create an inviting entryway.
The renovated library building served the community well, but with steady population growth came an increased demand for library services. Thoughts on expanding the library or building a new one were discussed in a community forum in March 2003 but not acted upon. In the meantime, the library service population swelled to approximately 42,000 people by 2004. There were more than 16,000 registered users and circulation in that year exceeded 238,000 items. In early 2005, City Council voted to provide the funds to conduct a feasibility study for a new library building and retained architects Jerry Mendenhall and Tom Ellis to conduct the study and create a building program. Mr. Mendenhall and Mr. Ellis worked closely with the Library Advisory Board and Library staff and presented their findings and preliminary plans to Council in the summer of 2005 but the next step in realizing the dream of a new library was unclear, at least until December 2005. That was when local businessman, Eric White, and his wife Carolyn donated one million dollars to the City to be used for building a new library. The donation provided the impetus for creating a bond committee and presenting the library project to the community. The six million dollar bond project was overwhelmingly approved by voters in the May 2006 election.
City Council purchased a parcel of land at the corner of Schertz Parkway and Elbel Road in December 2006 and the architectural firm of Kell-Munoz was selected shortly afterward to design a 40,000 square-foot library building. A year of design and planning took place. During that time, sky-rocketing building costs caused the scope of the project to be reduced but on February 29, 2008, ground was broken on a new 30,000 square-foot facility. The building, built by O’Haver Contractors, was completed in June 2009 and opened to the public on August 29, 2009.