MCMLS Timeline

Humble Beginnings
The Library began as a collection of 1200 volumes housed in a Conroe School Recreation Center and operated by a women's group known as the HUB Club.
Library Official
The group appealed to the County to make the library a tax-supported function of County government.
First Library Branch
In 1948 the Library was taken over by the County and a budget of  $25,000 provided.  Katherine Ard was hired as its first librarian and a bookmobile was put into operation to serve outlying areas of the county
Library's First Move
In 1950 the Library was moved to a vacant automobile showroom on North Frazier.
Funds for Facility
A bond election was held for a new Library facility. $300,000 was approved.
Brand New Building
The new Library, located at 400 N. San Jacinto, was completed. It was 10,000 square feet.
Going Mobile
A second bookmobile was added.
First Director
Mattie Howard was appointed Library Director.
East Branch Library
Opened in leased space in a shopping center between New Caney and Porter.
Change in Leadership
Hank Blasick was appointed Library Director.
South Branch Library
Opened in The Woodlands Information Center.
Central Branch Changes
The carport, breezeway, and terrace of the Central Library were enclosed to add 3,000 square feet.
South Branch Library complete
The South Branch on Many Pines Street was completed. The Woodlands donated the site and a federal LSCA grant for $75,000 was obtained to help fund the construction cost of the 5,500 square foot building.
Central Grows Again
Another 2,000 square feet was enclosed at the Central Library. The total square footage totals 15,000.
June 21, 1980
Central Library Fire
A fire in the Central Library damaged the interior and destroyed many books.
Central Library Reopens
After the fire, the Library closed until April, 1981.
May 1981
New Director
David Calloway was appointed Library Director.
Bookmobile Cancelled
Bookmobile service discontinued.
East Branch Relocated
The East Branch Library was moved into the East County Courthouse Annex in March.
July 1985
Magnolia Branch Library opened
Magnolia Branch Library opened a 2,800 square foot branch in the Southwest County Annex.
October 1986
East Branch reopened
East Branch Library opened in its own 6,400 square foot building next to the East County Annex in New Caney. The total cost of construction was $270,000, of which an LSCA grant was obtained for $50,000.
April 1987
Change in Leadership
Mike Baldwin was appointed Library Director.
May 1987
East Branch renamed
East Branch was renamed R. B. Tullis Library by Commissioners' Court.
June 1988
West Branch Library opened
West Branch opened in the Western Hills Shopping Center in 1,600 square feet of space donated rent free for 3 years.
December 1988
Long-Range Planning Study began
The Library Consultant firm of HBW Associates was hired for $22,000 to perform a long-range planning study of the Library System with recommendations for facility and operational improvements to the year 2000.
July 1989
Long-Range Planning Study completed
Study completed.
August 1989
Private Funding begins
A Library Foundation was formed to help raise private funding for the Library System.
Willis Library planned
The Friends of the Willis Library obtained a federal Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant for $100,000 to build a library in Willis.
January 1991
Citizens Task Force Appointed
County Judge Alan Sadler appointed a citizens library task force to examine the needs for library service in Montgomery County.
April 1991
Willis Library opened
The 6,000 square foot Meador Branch Library in Willis was opened.
July 1991
LSCA Grant Received
County received a LSCA grant for $100,000 with a County match of $128,000 to expand the West Branch Library from 1600 to 6,600 sq. ft. by purchasing space at the Western Hills Shopping Center.
August 1991
Task Force Report
The Library Task force gave its report to Commissioners' Court, recommending a bond election for $9.25 million to build: a 50,000 sq. ft. Central Libary in Conroe; a 30,000 sq. ft. regional branch in The Woodlands; $100,000 toward a new Magnolia Branch; $500,000 for new books for the system; and $750,000 for automation & computerization of the system.
November 5, 1991
Bond Election
Voters approved $9.25 million for Library system in bond election. Vote approval by 63%.
January 1992
South Branch Burned
South Branch burned to the ground as a result of arson. About $800,000 in insurance money was made available as a result.
February 1992
South Branch Architect approved
Ray Bailey Architects was recommended by the Oversight Committee and approved by Commissioners’ Court as the Library architect. David Hennington was retained by the architect as the library consultant for the project.
May 1992
South Branch Temporary Location
South Branch Library opened in temporary space of 10,000 sq. ft. in a former grocery store in Grogan’s Mill Shopping Center in The Woodlands, primarily with thousands of donated books.
July 1992
LSCA Grant for South Branch
LSCA grant of $100,000 was approved by the State Library to help with the construction of the new South Regional Branch.
July 1992
Joining Forces
Library Director discussed the possibility of joint automation with the Associate Dean of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District.
December 1992
Joint Automation of system
The Oversite Committee recommended joint automation as best means for Library system.
November 20, 1992
West Branch reopened
The expanded West Branch Library was opened to the public.
February 9, 1993
South Regional Branch Ground Breaking
The official ground breaking for the new South Regional Branch and Central Library were held.
March 1993
Automate-Match Grant Received
Library received an Automate-Match grant for $18,600 from Houston Area Library System to assist with automation of the Library System.
July 1993
Dynix Automation Approved
A 5-year contract for Dynix automation services was approved by Commissioners’ Court with NHMCCD.
August 1993
New Employees Approved
Commissioners’ Court approved the 1993/94 budget, authorizing hiring 20 FTE new positions including 8 new librarians and a Branch Coordinator to help staff the new facilities. 1993
May 16, 1994
South Branch closes for move
The old South Branch was closed so its contents could be moved to the new South Regional Branch.
June 13, 1994
South Regional Branch reopened
The new South Regional Branch opened to the public and the old Central Library closed for its move.
July 25, 1994
Central reopened
The new Central Library opened to the public.
September 10, 1994
South Regional's grand opening
The new South Regional Branch celebrated its official grand opening
Management & Performance Review
Deloitte & Touche LLP conducted a management and performance review of the Library System.
February 1997
Magnolia Ground Breaking
Ground breaking for the new facility in Magnolia.
June 2, 1997
Current Director
Jerilynn A. Williams named Library Director.
September 1997
Internet Access
Public access to the Internet was initiated.
October 1997
Magnolia Branch renamed
Magnolia Branch renamed to honor Commissioner Malcolm Purvis.
November 22, 1997
Malcolm Purvis Library born
Grand opening activities were held for the Malcolm Purvis Library - Magnolia Branch.
Joint Automation Services
Revised 3-year contract for joint automation services was negotiated with NHMCCD and approved by the Commissioners’ Court in the fall.
Technology Upgrade
MCMLS was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $74,725 to upgrade automation software to Windows-based UniPAC and to enhance information access.
April 1, 1999
Telecommunications Grant Received
A Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) grant of $115,000 was received for upgrading the network infrastructure and improving patron access between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000.
Circulation Growth
MCMLS circulations exceed one million items for the first time during FY 1999; a total of 1,021,324 checkouts were recorded.
Gates Foundation Grant received
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded two grants to MCMLS for a total of $135,000; one to fund a computer training lab, the second to provide 4 specially configured PCs and content servers to 5 locations.
TIF Grant received
A TIF grant of $200,000 was awarded to upgrade public access workstations and pay a portion of the cost to migrate to new automation software (Horizon).
August 2000
Long Range Planning
The Library Board initiated long range planning to identify needs and the service responses, goals, objectives, and strategies to address them over the next five years. Dr. Julie B. Todaro was engaged to assist with the organizational planning; Library Consultant Catherine S. Park conducted a facilities assessment and developed a 5-year master plan.
Fiscal 2000
Library Use Grows
Ended with record-breaking statistics, including 1,057,882 circulations; 310,619 reference transactions; and 788,730 users recorded.
Planning Task Force Convened
A Planning Task Force was convened to examine the current and future needs of the MCMLS and to recommend a master plan for the library system.
Fiscal 2001
Record-breaking Statistics
Ended with record-breaking statistics, including 1,063,826 items circulated; over 345,000 reference transactions, and 878,619 users counted.
January 2002
Facilities Master Plan Accepted
The acceptance of a Facilities Master Plan by the Planning Task Force. A $10 million bond issue was placed on the November 2002 ballot for the replacement of the existing R.B. Tullis and West branch libraries and the addition of a new branch in the far western portion of The Woodlands. The bond issue was approved by a 52% to 48% margin despite a vigorous anti- campaign staged by a group of citizens opposed to higher taxes.
Summer 2002
Library Challenged
In the late summer of 2002, the Library System and the Director, Jerilynn Williams were attacked as purveyors of pornography for stocking books It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal by author Robie Harris. This attack sparked a vigorous public debate and attempts to ban the Harris books from the library made national news. In the end, the Commissioners’ Court voted to keep the two works in their original classifications and to slightly revise the Library System’s review policy. Five citizens, one appointed by each member of the Court, were added to the review committee for challenges to juvenile and young adult materials.
Fiscal 2002
Library Use Continues to Grow
End of fiscal year again reflected tremendous growth in the use of the Library System, with a record 1,094,744 circulations; over 83,000 people attended Library programs; and an all-time high of 993,045 patrons recorded visiting System locations.
New Facilities
Design of the three new library facilities was initiated.
R. B. Tullis Site
The site for the R.B. Tullis replacement was donated by the East Montgomery County Improvement District, along with $500,000 designated for enhancing aesthetics of the new building.
Land donated for Woodlands branch
Land for the new branch in The Woodlands was donated by The Woodlands Operating Company.
Donation for West Branch site
Philip and Holly LeFevre donated the site for the West branch replacement.
Circulation Stats
Circulation for FY 2003 was 1,174,224, an all-time record for MCMLS, and the 9th consecutive year for circulation increases. 90,591 people attended Library programs in FY 2003 and volunteers contributed over 13,000 hours to help run the Library System.
July 21, 2004
Mitchell Library Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library in The Woodlands
July 21, 2004
August 18, 2004
Charles B. Stewart Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking at the Charles B. Stewart Branch in Montgomery
August 18, 2004
September 9, 2004
R. B. Tullis Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking for the new R. B. Tullis Library in New Caney
September 9, 2004
March 2005
New Logo
New logo for the Library System was developed with the library vision statement: "Information, Ideas, Interactions"
July 6, 2005
Mitchell Library Opened
George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library opened in The Woodlands.
July 3, 2005
March 9, 2006
Charles B. Stewart West Branch Opened
Charles B. Stewart West Branch Library opened.
March 9, 2006
March 30, 2007
R. B. Tullis Opened
R. B. Tullis Library in New Caney celebrated grand opening.
March 3, 2007